Legendary Brian Lara has bestowed valuable advice upon Umran Malik, emphasizing that sheer pace should not be the sole weapon in the 23-year-old fast bowler’s arsenal. Lara encouraged the young pacer to learn from the evolution of some of the world’s greatest pacers and how they diversified their skills over time to excel at the highest level.
Over the past two years, Brian Lara has mentored Umran Malik at SunRisers Hyderabad, overseeing the budding talent’s growth in the Indian Premier League. Malik made his IPL debut in 2021 and left a mark with SRH in 2022, clinching 22 wickets in 14 matches, unsettling batsmen with his raw speed.
However, Malik’s journey in ODIs has been characterized by his struggle to secure a permanent spot in the team. He played three ODIs early in 2023, before the West Indies series, and was sidelined during the Australia ODIs.
His return to the Indian ODI squad in July 2023, for the West Indies series, garnered mixed reviews. While he had previously taken five wickets in two matches against Sri Lanka and notched a dismissal against New Zealand, his performance in the West Indies series was lackluster. In the first ODI, he bowled just three overs, conceding 17 runs without taking a wicket. This raised concerns about his form in the limited-overs format.
Brian Lara conveyed, “He will be a sensation, but he needs to quickly grasp that fast bowling alone doesn’t trouble the world’s best players. He must possess the ability to manipulate the ball, be strategic, and discern when to vary his pace. He’s very young and has a bright future ahead.”
Reflecting on his T20I career, Umran Malik has participated in eight matches, claiming 11 wickets with an economy rate of 10.48, which has raised some apprehensions. The young bowler acknowledged the significance of working with Dale Steyn, the esteemed bowling coach at SRH, in enhancing his skills.
The rapport between Steyn and Malik flourished, with the latter attributing his success to the guidance from the South African veteran. Steyn’s elation over Malik’s achievements was evident from his enthusiastic celebrations in the dugout.
Brian Lara concluded, “Numerous examples exist. Wasim Akram possessed raw pace, Malcolm Marshall displayed destructive pace, and Michael Holding had his unique style. Yet, they all understood that at some point, they needed more than just speed. If Umran Malik collaborates with Dale Steyn, he has the potential to become one of India’s finest.”