Ravi Shastri shared his views on Umran Malik's India debut. | Photo - AFP/IPL | Photograph:( Others )
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has given his take on whether Umran Malik can make the cut into India's playing XI for the first T20I against South Africa next month.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) pacer Umran Malik earned his dream maiden call up to the Indian team on Sunday (May 22) as the selectors announced India's squad for the upcoming T20I series against South Africa at home. Malik enjoyed an impressive campaign for SRH in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 and has also been deemed one of the finds of the tournament.
The 21-year-old fast bowler has been consistently clocking over 150 kmph with the ball and has impressed with his raw pace. He was on the selectors' radar ahead of the squad announcement and has been rewarded for his bowling exploits in IPL 2022. Umran is among a host of players who have made the cut in India's squad on the back of their brilliant show in IPL this season.
While he has been fast-tracked into the Indian team for the South Africa ODI series, it remains to be seen if Umran will make the cut in India's playing XI for the first T20I against the Proteas directly. Former India head coach Ravi Shastri recently shared his views on the chances of Umran's inclusion straightway in India's playing XI.
Shastri believes going by his current form Umran deserves to be included in the playing XI for the series opener between India and South Africa which will be played at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi on June 09.
"On current form, they might just play (him). If he is bowling well in the nets, doing the right things, they will unleash him at the earliest against South Africa. His (Umran) association with the team is the absolute right thing because at least he can be groomed properly," Shastri said on ESPNCricinfo.
Umran made his IPL debut for SRH last season but did enough to impress the team management as he was retained ahead of the mega auction this year. He featured in all 14 matches for the franchise this season and finished the season as the highest wicket-taker for the Kane Williamson-led side with 22 wickets in 14 matches.
However, Umran's bowling heroics failed to inspire SRH to the playoffs as Williamson & Co. could only manage 12 points in 14 matches in IPL 2022.