'It was completely wrong' - Shastri, Pietersen blasts Indian pacer
Even as Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) managed to come out unscathed in their near must-win IPL 2023 league stage encounter against the Delhi Capitals (DC) on Saturday (April 29), former cricketers Ravi Shastri and Kevin Pietersen felt one of their key bowlers let the 2016 champions down.
In a high-scoring fixture played in Delhi, the Sunrisers avenged their previous loss against this opposition by restricting the Capitals to 188/7 in defence of their imposing 197/6 in 20 overs. The win, however, could not hide the fact that SRH's express speedster Umran Malik came in for proper battering on the night.
The India and J&K express speedster lost his radar completely and had to be taken out of the attack after an ultra-expensive 22-run over during the Capitals run-chase. He wasn't brought back for another go at the batters, inspiring zero confidence about him in Sunrisers and skipper Aiden Markram.
For Shastri and Pietersen, it was disappointing viewing, not since the young seamer went for plenty, but because he showcased poor game awareness and couldn't adjust in the wake of the opposition onslaught. Pietersen was particularly unimpressed by no flexibility on display and urged Umran Malik to bring more variations into play when he is under the pump.
Shastri, Pietersen critical of Umran Malik's poor outing
After two encouraging seasons with SRH, Malik has been facing the heat in IPL 2023. The right-arm seamer has seen the ball fly as quickly as it leaves his hand, going for a shocking 10.35 runs an over across seven games with just five wickets next to his name.
Earlier, Malik could justify his inconsistency with the reason that he is an enforcer of the attack and wicket-taking is his forte. But the pacer has neither chipped away at the wickets column nor managed to provide leash on run-scoring.
"He just played into the hands of the opposition. He needs someone like a Bhuvneshwar Kumar next to him telling him what exactly needs to be done," Shastri was quoted as saying while commentating on Star Sports. "You can still go for runs but you need to alter the length. You come out there bowl four deliveries, all same length, wrong line and he has gone for 17 runs already."
"He can even try cross seam. In a situation like this when you don't have the confidence and you don't know where it is going, go cross seam and full and into the stumps."
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Pietersen put the point forward and said Malik needs to learn quickly that he can't operate at the same speeds all the time and must adjust to the demands of the game, and bring in more variations into play to keep the batters in check.
"I am not a bowler but sitting in the dressing room, our bowlers - the Broads and the Andersons - have all watched what the opposition did. They were always thinking and talking about what the opposition was doing. That is the learning gear. He should have understood what Mitch Marsh did with great success. What Umran Malik is doing here is not good. Take the pace off!"
"It was completely wrong. Every single delivery was on speed again. Where were all of Mitch Marsh's wickets? All were slower balls and leg cutters. It is really not that difficult to understand someone else from the opposition did which was successful," Pietersen added.