SRINAGAR: Former Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Akhtar thinks that for Umran Malik to have a long and fruitful career, he will have to work on his fitness and avoid getting injured frequently.
Shoaib is credited with bowling the fastest delivery in international cricket and was a nightmare for batters at his peak. However, he couldn’t have a long career thanks to multiple injuries that kept him out of the game for long periods.
Umran has shown a lot of promise, bowling consistently in the 150 kphs and also bowled the fastest delivery (157 kmph) of IPL 2022 so far. Such has been the excitement around the young pacer that many think he could be drafted into India’s T20I team in the coming few months.
“I want to see him have a long career. A few days ago, someone was congratulating me as it’s been 20 years since I bowled the fastest delivery but no one has been able to break the record. But I said, ‘There must be someone who can smash this record’. I will be happy if Umran breaks my record. But he needs to ensure that he doesn’t get injured in the process. I want to see him playing for a long stretch without any injuries,” Akhtar said during an interaction on Sportskeeda.
Akhtar, who was the first player in history to break the 100-mile barrier, also wants Umran to play for India, saying that the pacer belongs on the world stage.
“I want to see him on the world stage as he belongs there. At present, there are not many people who can cross the 150 kmph mark. We have seen that Umran has been bowling consistently at that pace. I want Umran to that 100-mph mark at the back of his mind. I will be happy if he enters the 100-mph club. But he has to stay away from injuries which can halt his career,” he added.
However, Shoaib cautioned that the Indian team management will have to be careful with how they manage the workload of the promising fast bowler, allowing him plenty of opportunity to rest and recover.
“BCCI and youth academy need to take care of Umran’s workload. He now has to train scientifically in an advanced way. His bowling needs to be measured. When you drive a car at high speed, there are chances of its tire blowing up or engine getting damaged. It has to go back to the factory and recuperate. During the offseason, Umran has to make sure that he trains double his workload. That will reduce the pressure of his workload,” Shoaib said.