Irfan Pathan has criticized Umran Malik for bowling a slightly wayward first spell in the second ODI between India and Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday, January 12.
Umran picked up two wickets but conceded 48 runs in his seven overs as the Men in Blue bowled out the Lankan Lions for 215 after Dasun Shanaka opted to bat first. The hosts chased down the target with four wickets and 40 deliveries to spare to seal the three-match series ahead of the final game in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday, January 15.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Pathan was asked about his thoughts on Umran Malik's spell, considering that his mentee proved slightly expensive although he did snare a couple of wickets, to which he responded:
"The first spell was disappointing. The control on line and length was not seen at all in the first spell, which was much better in the last match. He was trying to ball in a good area there (in the first game). The truer the pitch, the more you have to try to bowl in one area."
However, the former Indian all-rounder highlighted that the Jammu and Kashmir speedster shouldn't compromise on his pace to improve his line and length, elaborating:
"I am not saying that Umran Malik only has to pitch the ball in the right areas because his main strength is pace. He should not go away from the pace at all. He has to regularly keep bowling at 145-150 kph but along with that, he has to regularly challenge himself to bowl the lengths towards the mid-thighs at the stumps."
Umran went wicketless and conceded 30 runs in the first three overs he bowled. Kusal Mendis and Nuwanidu Fernando smashed him for three fours and a six and forced Rohit Sharma to take his strike weapon out of the attack.
Irfan Pathan on Umran Malik's area of improvement
Pathan believes Umran has his radar set when he bowls around the wickets to the left-handers, explaining:
"His biggest cue is that when he bowls around the wicket to the left-handed batters, you will always feel that he is not giving room, because that angle comes inwards, and the batters get bowled after getting the inside edge, by getting cramped."
The cricketer-turned-commentator feels the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) pacer will become a better bowler once he creates a similar angle to the right-handers, stating:
"It means they get beaten by the pace and along with that with the angle. It will be very good if he brings that same sort of angle to right-handed batters with time. Work in progress but definitely in the right direction because he is regularly picking up wickets."
Umran has picked up 12 wickets in seven ODIs at a reasonable economy rate of 6.31. He has gone wicketless just once in the 12 innings he has bowled in on the international stage, where he got just a solitary over on his T20I debut against Ireland.
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