'He keeps shuffling his length' - India legend critical of Umran Malik
Knives have only sharpened against the struggling Umran Malik after he finished his IPL 2023 campaign with another lacklustre outing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Sunday (May 21). In a spell that summed up the Indian speedster's disastrous season, he conceded 41 runs off his three overs without chipping away at the wickets column in Sunrisers' painstaking loss to Mumbai Indians (MI).
Malik, known for his pace and hostility, continued to falter with his control and consistency in the last match of the season, where he ended with a sorry-looking tournament tally of just five wickets in his eight outings with an alarmingly expensive economy rate of 10.85.
The brisk right-arm quick had been retained by the 2016 champions with high hopes after his breakthrough IPL 2022. Even though still taken on at above 9 runs an over, the SRH enforcer bagged 22 scalps in his 14 outings to receive praise from all corners and be rewarded with an India T20I cap on the short trip to Ireland in June.
The 23-year-old was thus expected to take his game a notch higher in IPL 2023 and prove to be a match-winner for the Sunrisers side approaching a transition phase. Ultimately, however, Umran Malik's campaign was a disappointing reminder of how far the young talent still has to go.
Sehwag lambasts struggling Umran Malik
With rise comes expectations and also criticism when a cricketer fails to deliver. Among those to have put Umran Malik's poor campaign under the scanner is former India stalwart Virender Sehwag, who pointed out a major chink in the bowler's armoury, explaining why he is so inconsistent with the ball in hand.
For Sehwag, the bone of contention is that Umran keeps "shuffling his length" without settling on an area to operate against opposition batters, which perhaps disturbs his rhythm and leaves him vulnerable to be hit in all parts of the ground.
"Umran Malik’s problem is that he keeps shuffling his length. He doesn’t have the experience yet. He might have worked a lot with Dale Steyn, but he hasn’t really got the idea of his length. Despite working with Steyn for so long and learning under him, he’s doing the same mistakes that he did last year," Sehwag told Cricbuzz.
Personally, however, Umran feels his dip in performance is down to inconsistent game time in the middle. The pacer played the first seven games of the season and was dropped thereafter, not brought back until the very end of Sunrisers' campaign as they finished bottom of the pile with just four wins and ten defeats.
"Last year, I played all games and bowled all overs. This time, I bowled less overs and took 5 wickets only. When I wasn’t playing, I was putting on the hard work. I hope to perform better today (against MI)," he said on Star Sports.