Umran Malik, the Jammu and Kashmir pacer, would have played international cricket by now if he was in Pakistan, according to veteran wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal. Malik is currently the second-highest wicket-taker for the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, with 15 wickets from 11 matches.
Akmal, who was a member of the 2008 IPL-winning Rajasthan Royals (RR) squad, stated that Malik’s economy rate is high, but he described the pacer as a genuine strike bowler due to his ability to produce regular breakthroughs.
Kamran Akmal on Umran Malik
Umran Malik has been a revelation in the IPL this season. While his name made the rounds in IPL 2021, leading to his selection as Team India’s net bowler for the T20 World Cup in 2021, he has made waves in IPL 2022 with his raw pace and the wicket-taking ability for the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
Umran has easily surpassed the 150 km/h mark this season. Many former cricketers and experts feel he can be handed a national cap and trained in time for the T20 World Cup in Australia this year. In the midst of it all, Pakistan’s veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal weighed in on Umran’s abilities and made a bold remark.
“If he was in Pakistan, maybe he would have played international cricket. His economy is high, but he is a strike bowler since he is getting wickets. After every match, his speed chart comes where he clocks around 155 km/h and it’s not going down. It’s a good competition in the Indian team,” Akmal said.
In comparison to prior eras, Akmal says India now has a large number of quick bowlers. He believes that Indian selectors will struggle to make team decisions in the near future.
“Earlier, Indian cricket lacked quality fast bowlers, but now they have a plethora of pacers like Navdeep Saini, (Mohammed) Siraj, (Mohammed) Shami, and (Jasprit) Bumrah. Even Umesh Yadav is bowling beautifully. With 10-12 pacers in the ranks, it’s becoming tough for Indian selectors to make selections,” he added.
Allowing Malik to play for a whole IPL edition, according to the 40-year-old Akmal, has done wonders for the speedster’s confidence. He also drew comparisons between Malik and Shoaib Akhtar and Brett Lee, two of the modern era’s fastest bowlers.
“Last season he played only one or two games. If he was in Pakistan, he would surely have played for us. But Indian cricket showed a lot of maturity by giving Malik a chance to play in an entire IPL season. Brett Lee and Shoaib (Akhtar) bhai were also expensive, but they picked up wickets and that’s how strike bowlers should be,” Akmal said.