‘Let him Flourish as the Striker of Your Attack’: Ex-India Pacer Calls it a ‘Good Debut’ for Umran Malik

Amid the rising demands of cricket fans, Team India on Friday handed a debut to young pacer Umran Malik in the first ODI against New Zealand in Auckland. In the absence of senior players, the Jammu speedster got the big opportunity to open the Indian bowling attack with fellow debutant Arshdeep Singh. The game didn’t end in India’s favour as the hosts registered a 7-wicket win to go 1-0 up in the series but Umran surely left an impact with his sheer pace.

Right from his first over, the right arm quick made a mockery of the speed gun by constantly clocking above 145 kmph. Where most of the Indian bowlers failed to scalp a single wicket, Umran returned figures of 2 for 66 in 10 overs. The youngsters even notched the top speed of 153.1 kmph during his remarkable spell.

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Former India pacer and World Cup-winner, Zaheer Khan, reserved massive praise for Imran. Speaking on Amazon Prime Video, Zaheer said the pacer from Jammu should back his strength and look to bowl as quickly as possible.

“He was great. He started very well. And the pace that everyone has been talking about that is his strength, he backed it. Towards the latter half, there are some learnings for sure but it’s just the first game for him at this level. It is about going out there, enjoying the moment, and giving it all. I think he had a good debut,” Zaheer said.

“You can overlook the runs right now but what is important for a bowler like him, who is bowling at that kind of pace, is the wicket-taking intent. That was good, and the body language was good too. All the little fine-tuning he will figure as he moves along in his career. But what’s important is that he should back his strength and look to bowl as quick as possible. He showed decent control and should continue with that.

“You need variety in your bowling attack. You have used different bowlers for different things. When you look at Umran, you have got to look at him as a wicket-taker. Let him flourish as a bowler who is going to be that striker of your attack. He is someone who is probably not thinking about runs. He will leak runs in the process but you have got to take it in your stride and just back him to be free. That is something which is very important,” he added.

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Earlier, Kane Williamson and Tom Latham stitched an unbeaten 221-run stand for the fourth wicket to snatch victory away from India. Latham top-scored with an unbeaten 145 off 104 balls while Williamson scored 94 not out.

Both teams will now shift their bases to Hamilton where they will play the 2nd ODI on Sunday.

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