Umran Malik, the 22-year-old Jammu and Kashmir native, has been outstanding with the ball in the 15th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), he has 15 wickets in eight outings so far and is a strong contender for the purple cap.
The pace that the youngster is able to generate causes “anxiety” not just among tailenders but also among proper batters, according to the New Zealand legend Daniel Vettori.
"That pace generates anxiety among batters and not just tailenders, it's all batters," Vettori told ESPNCricinfo's 'T20 Time Out' show.
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The former Kiwi captain also said that the pace at which the SRH speedster bowls has not consistently been clocked since the likes of Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar, or Shaun Tait.
"We don't often see bowlers get around 153-154 mark. That's exceptional pace, that's a rarity that we haven't seen I suppose consistently since the likes of (Brett) Lee, Shoaib Akhtar, or Shaun Tait.”
"So to see that is a huge part of the game now. You can see the excitement factor, brings a bit of X-factor." said the former BlackCaps spinner.
In SRH's recent outing, Umran Malik tore apart Gujarat Titans' top order. Defending 196, he took five wickets while giving away just 25 runs in his 4 overs. However, the Kane Williamson-led side failed to defend the target as Rahul Tewatia and Rashid Khan pulled off a heist by hitting four sixes in the last over to win by five wickets.
To protect Malik's unique potential, Vettori believes the BCCI should intervene soon and regulate his workload.
"This is a gem here and it's just how it's looked after in the next couple of years for Indian cricket and how to get the best out of him,” he said.
"Potentially. It might be the best thing for him coming under the umbrella of the BCCI or the NCA, and they can manage his workloads, because there is a temptation for a player of his pace to keep bowling."
"I am reflecting on my conversation with Shane Bond and the fact that he thought the more you bowled, the slower you got."
Bond, the former New Zealand fast bowler, is the current bowling coach of the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.
"In the subcontinent, you are used as a net bowler, you are going on tours and things like that. So the workload could get a bit much," said Vettori.
Malik could be fast-tracked into India's T20 World Cup squad, according to Chris Lynn, a former Mumbai Indians, and Australian hitter, because of the bounce and pace aspect that is always present on Australian surfaces.
"I will factor the wickets are bouncy here in Australia and you need I suppose that youth and just that guys haven't played against it," said Lynn, who played four ODIs and 18 T20Is for Australia between 2014 and 2018.
"You keep going back to whom you drop because it is such a formidable (bowling) line-up, but would love to see this guy in the World Cup.”
"He's going to take the world by the storm if he does get a chance at the international level. It is lucky that I am not a selector for India."
SRH will next play against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune on Sunday (May 01).