Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh has batted for Umran Malik’s inclusion in the Indian team for the T20 World Cup 2022, saying the latter should bowl in tandem with pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah at the showpiece tournament.
Playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), Umran has caught everyone’s attention with his pace and bounce. He has consistently bowled over the 150 kmph mark in the cash-rich league.
The 22-year-old Malik, who has claimed 15 wickets so far, has hurled the fastest delivery – 157 kmph – in the IPL 2022 season.
“He (Umran Malik) is my favourite, I want to see him in the Indian team because what a bowler he is,” Harbhajan told reporters on Friday (May 6).
“Tell me any one bowler who bowls more than 150 (kmph) and is not playing for the country. So, I think it is a great thing and he will inspire many youngsters to take up this game, where he has come from and what he is doing in IPL, he has been unbelievable,” he added.
The great off-spinner said if he was a part of the national selection committee, he would have picked Umran Malik into the Indian team.
“And I don't know whether he will be selected or not but if I was part of selection committee, I would have given a go ahead. Umran Malik should partner Jasprit Bumrah when India plays in Australia (for T20 World Cup),” Harbhajan said.
“I am sure he (Umran) will also learn, he's a promising cricketer and I hope he gets selected and plays for India.”
According to Harbhajan, Malik's age should not be a factor while considering him for the national selection.
“When Sachin (Tendulkar) played for India, he was very young. Of course, he was Sachin Tendulkar, but that's okay, 'aise hi player bante hai' (players are made like this).
“When I played my first Test, I was 17 and half, but if you keep on thinking that he is a kid, then time will run out. When he is bowling at his best, he should be playing. Forget what his age is, when someone is performing well and is fit enough, they should walk in,” said Harbhajan.
(With PTI inputs)