'Get him in; throw him at the deep end': Brett Lee's 'first pick' for Team India after 10-wicket drubbing
While the Indian pace attack is shaping up well in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, ex-Australia pacer Brett Lee wants to see the inclusion of a rising star.
India were handed a reality check at the hands of Australia in the second ODI at Visakhapatnam, where they lost the contest by 10 wickets to level the series 1-1. The Indian star-studded batting line-up was no match to Mitchell Starc and was left shredded by the left-arm quick. After getting bowled out for 109 in the Indore Test, yesterday was the second time in six innings that India were shot out for just over a 100 (117), before Australia chased down the total without breaking much sweat.
Indian bowlers were wicketless in their hope to pull off a miracle win, but couldn't be blamed since there wasn't much to defend in the first place. The bowlers rose to the occasions in the first ODI, dismissing Australia for 187 in a brilliant comeback with Mohammed Shami emerging to the fire with a three-wicket burst which Australia couldn't recover from. But while the Indian pace attack is shaping up well in the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, former Australia pacer Brett Lee wants to see the inclusion of Umran Malik in the Playing XI. Lee, who hasn't shied away from praising Umran in the past, reckons the 23-year-old should be and automatic pick and given a go in Test cricket before it's too late.
"I like him. Get him in. Why not? (Inclusion in Test cricket). I said he should have played the World Cup last year in Australia. Didn't take him at the start but he should have been there. He would have been the first pick in my team because raw pace is very hard to harness. You got to look after them but you've also got to throw him in the deep end at some time. Get him out there, allow him to play and let him scare a few batters around the world," Brett Lee said on Sports Tak.
Also Read | 'Ex-cricketers need masala...': Gautam Gambhir's ballistic response to Venkatesh Prasad for taking jibe at KL Rahul
Umran, who is part of India's squad for the Australia ODIs, has been left put from both matches with Shami and Mohammed Siraj handling the pace attack. Umran has played 8 ODIs and 8 T20Is picking 13 and 11 wickets respectively, including inflicting some classic fast bowlers' dismissals. Umran has time and again used his pace to rattle, shatter and destroy stumps and touched the 155 kmph mark regularly. Recently in a T20I against Sri Lanka, Umran clean bowled a batter with so much pace that the bail flew and landed almost at the edge of the 30-yard circle.
Lee had earlier compared Umran to a Ferrari and vouched for his inclusion in India's Playing XI. Given the form he is in and provided he can keep it going, Umran should be a shoe-in in India's World Cup plans later this year. Despite no clarity over Bumrah's fitness, India's fast-bowling stock looks impressive with Shami, Siraj, Arshdeep the top three contenders, and Umran promises to bolster the line-up even further with his speed and accuracy.