NZ vs IND – ‘Umran Malik has a special ability to…’ Ajit Agarkar lauds Jammu speedster on ODI debut

India’s newest young pace bowling sensation Umran Malik made his ODI debut on Friday against New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland, returning with the figures of 2-66 in ten overs. Although he did go for a few runs in India’s seven-wicket loss, Umran still seemed to have impressed everyone with his raw pace and wicket-taking ability. One of them is a former India pacer, Ajit Agarkar.

While speaking on the post-match discussion on Prime Video, Agarkar praised Umran saying there are many bowlers in India who can bowl good line and length but there aren’t many who can do that with a 150 km/ph delivery, and that is where he (Umran Malik) comes into the picture. Agarkar said bowling at that speed is no less than a special ability, and that Malik needs to be nurtured well so that he gets the confidence to do well consistently at this stage.

“There are lots of bowlers who bowl line and length, there are very few who can get it up to 150 and that’s a special ability to have. So you have got to nurture it and you have got to give him that confidence,” Agarkar said.

Agarkar was also of the opinion that despite going a tad expensive on his debut, Malik still had an excellent day.

“When someone is as raw as he is, I think he had a brilliant day. He gave India the control; he gave India the wickets which kept India in the game. I know Shreyas (Iyer) said that they thought they were above par but with the dimensions of this ground and if there is a set batter, it becomes very difficult to stop.”

During the first ODI, Malik picked up two wickets of opener Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell, while Agarkar reckons with those scalps, he brought India back into the game.

“He gave India the wickets that they needed – Conway and then Mitchell. So he got India back in the game, bowled exceptionally well. We don’t expect a young bowler, who is a tearaway, to come and bowl every ball on the right line and lengths. That is what gives them the X-factor.”

India will now face New Zealand in the second ODI on November 27th.