Former England captain Kevin Pietersen believes Team India should quickly draft Umran Malik into their Test squad. Malik has been on fire for the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in IPL 2022, regularly reaching speeds in excess of 150 km/h. The tearaway pacer has already taken 15 wickets at an economy rate of 8.92 in ten matches.
According to Pietersen, India should play Malik in the Test match against England at Old Trafford in Manchester later this year. After competing in the County Championship, the veteran believes the England batters would feel uncomfortable facing a bowler with Malik's pace.
Pietersen suggested that India should utilize the 22-year-old fast bowler in short spurts, similar to how Mitchell Johnson was used by the Australian men's side.
"There are so many exciting young Indian pace bowlers in the IPL at the moment. Of the overseas players, only Lockie Ferguson and Alzarri Joseph are matching them for pace. Kartik Tyagi and Mohsin Khan are both rapid, but the one that’s most exciting is Umran Malik. He bowled a 157kph delivery against Delhi on Thursday, which is serious pace,” Pietersen wrote in his column for Betway Insider.
“You could use him like Australia used to use Mitchell Johnson, in short three- or four-over spells so that he can just let rip. If I was an India selector, I’d pencil him in for that Test match against England in July. The England batters are currently facing 70mph seamers in county cricket, so they certainly won’t want to be facing 90-95mph bowling all of a sudden," he stated.
As a homage to the late Shane Warne, Pietersen also wished for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) to qualify for the playoffs and pull off something extraordinary. Furthermore, he believes that with the 2022 IPL approaching its conclusion, the competition for the third and fourth place has intensified.
"The race for the third and fourth spot in the IPL table is on. It should be a fascinating conclusion with Delhi Capitals, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Punjab Kings pushing Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore... I’m also really hoping that Rajasthan Royals can make it, in memory of Shane Warne. Their tribute to the great man was amazing last Saturday and it would be very fitting if they can pull off something special over the next few weeks," Pietersen added.
(With India Today inputs)