In IPL 2022, Umran has been the talk of the town. Umran has been retained by Sunrisers Hyderabad after turning heads with his express pace towards the end of last season. He has consistently bowled above 150kph this season, even reaching 157kph at one point.
According to India batting legend and former SRH mentor, VVS Laxman, young players like Umran Malik will have to learn to shut out outside influences rapidly if they are to succeed at the highest level.
Laxman, who is currently the director of cricket at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), believes that if Umran understands how to stay focused in the face of distractions, he may not need any protection around him.
“When you are playing at the highest level, very soon you realise that you have to control your actions (off the field). There will be so many advisors, so many expectations to fulfill but players who play at the highest level very soon cordon all that off and focus on what is to be done,” Laxman told reporters on the sidelines of a Dream Set Go event.
Umran has blown hot and cold this season, aside from lighting the speed guns on fire. He has given up 52 and 48 runs without taking a wicket in his last two outings, but he was on fire before that, grabbing five and four wickets respectively.
“I am sure Umran or anyone who plays for the country will learn that very soon. The sooner they learn that, they will be successful. So, no need of bouncers (around him), it is important to bowl bouncers,” said Laxman.
At the same event, former India spinner Harbhajan Singh expressed his desire to see Umran play for India in the T20 World Cup later this year.
“He is my favourite. I want to see him in the Indian team. What a bowler he is. Name a pacer bowling at over 150 and not playing for the country. So, I think this is a great thing. He will inspire many youngsters to take up this game, where has come from and what he is doing in the IPL. He has been unbelievable. I don’t know if he will be selected or not but if I was part of the selection committee, I would have given him a go ahead. Umran Malik should partner Jasprit Bumrah when India plays in Australia,” said Harbhajan.