Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh wants to see young speedster Umran Malik in the Indian team and partner pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah for the T20 World Cup to be held in Australia later this year. The 22-year-old Malik, who’s playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the ongoing Indian Premier League has been bowing consistently over the 150 kmph mark. Malik, who has picked 15 wickets so far, has bowled the fastest delivery — 157 kmph — in the current IPL.
“He (Umran Malik) is my favourite, I want to see him in the Indian team because what a bowler he is,” Harbhajan told reporters here on Friday.
Harbhajan was speaking after ‘DreamSetGo’ became the Official Travel Agent of the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.
“Tell me any one bowler who bowls more than 150 (kmph) and is not playing for the country. So, I think it is a great thing and he will inspire many youngsters to take up this game, where he has come from and what he is doing in IPL, he has been unbelievable,” he added.
Harbhajan said if he was in the national selection committee, he would have drafted the Jammu pacer into the Indian team.
“And I don’t know whether he will be selected or not but if I was part of selection committee, I would have given a go ahead. Umran Malik should partner Jasprit Bumrah when India plays in Australia (for T20 World Cup),” said the former off-spinner.
“I am sure he (Umran) will also learn, he’s a promising cricketer and I hope he gets selected and plays for India.” Harbhajan said the 22-year-old Malik’s age should not be a factor while considering him for the national team.
“When Sachin (Tendulkar) played for India, he was very young. Of course, he was Sachin Tendulkar, but that’s okay, ‘aise hi player bante hai’ (players are made like this).
“When I played my first Test, I was 17 and half, but if you keep on thinking that he is a kid, then time will run out. When he is bowling at his best, he should be playing. Forget what his age is, when someone is performing well and is fit enough, they should walk in,” said Harbhajan.
Backs Kohli, Rohit to come good before T20 World Cup
Saying that going through a lean patch is part and parcel of a player’s career, Harbhajan backed Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma to roar back to form much before the T20 World Cup to be held in October-November.
“Of course, they are champion players, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, they are champion, world-class players, I am hopeful that they will get back to form much before the (T20) World Cup.
“This (lean patch) is a part and parcel of the game, everyone goes through this and I am sure they will come out of it and they will become ever stronger and better players out of this (phase),” added Harbhajan.
Backs ‘Kulcha’ to be part of Indian team for T20 WC
Harbhajan also backed the spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal to board the flight to Australia for T20 World Cup.
“I certainly believe that you have to bring ‘Kulcha’ back. Kuldeep and Yuzvendra, I think they have been brilliant for Team India. When they played together, they took wickets in middle overs, whether it was T20s, ODIs or any format,” he said.
“I don’t know why they (selectors) break that partnership which was going well for India. It will be great to see them bowling in Australia, where grounds are big and they both are quality bowlers,” he signed off.
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