It probably sums up Sunrisers Hyderabad’s (SRH) handling of Umran Malik this IPL season that their captain Aiden Markram said he wasn’t too sure when asked about their sidelined pace bowler’s status in the pecking order at the toss on Thursday. “I don’t really know what’s happening with him behind the scenes,” Markram said while still labelling Malik as their “X-factor”.
Former India fast bowler Zaheer Khan, for one, believes the tearaway pace sensation who made the previous IPL season his own and was fast-tracked into the Indian team hasn’t been handled well by SRH this year.
“I think Umran Malik has not been handled well by the franchise, the way his services should have been utilised by SRH. That is something which was evident,” Khan said on Thursday.
The youngster from Kashmir had a breakthrough IPL with the same franchise last year, picking up 22 wickets in 14 matches while consistently hovering around the 150kmph mark. This season, Malik has played half the number of matches, taking five wickets at an economy of 10.35 before the SRH think-tank — Brian Lara is the head coach and Dale Steyn the fast bowling coach — chose to bench him.
“When you are talking about a young seamer, you are also looking at creating that environment and support. That guidance is required,” Khan, part of JioCinema’s expert panel, said. “Unfortunately, that was not seen from SRH and that is why he has had the season that he’s had this year.”