'I believe if you have to pick him' - Manjrekar backs uncapped speedster's Test match prospects
As India approach a Test match transition, prominent experts have been expressing their opinion on how the Rohit Sharma-led side shall undergo the phase and the resources they should identify to ensure the imminent bumpy ride doesn't end up derailing them.
One of the experts keeping a close eye on India's in-transition squad set to embark on the initial bouts of a new era during the two-match Test series in the West Indies is former middle-order batter turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar.
While extensive focus has been on a batting line-up which has had an influx of multiple young talents to bat around India's ageing and declining old guard, Manjrekar chose to put the magnifying glass on the bowling side of things and made an unorthodox suggestion on the way ahead.
He believes limited-overs speed merchant Umran Malik can be a vital asset in the bowling department in the coming years if he retains his fitness and ability to extract high-end speeds in excess of 145 clicks on a consistent basis.
Manjrekar backs Umran for Test cricket
Speaking to News24, Manjrekar opined Umran Malik's express nature can be lethal for opposition batting units and ruffle their feathers by hitting the bat hard from the good length region. He cited the example of England's speed merchant Mark Wood, who made an impressive comeback to Test cricket in Headingley via the Ashes 2023, to stress home his point of approval of Umran's Test match prospects.
"I believe if you have to pick Umran (Malik), give him a chance in Test cricket because we saw when Mark Wood played the last Ashes Test, a guy who can bowl 90 miles per hour, his specialty is that the tail-enders don't stay against him for long," Manjrekar said.
The ex right-hander reinforced his point stating that a low-profile series like the West Indies trip is an ideal opportunity to look at the future and trial promising youngsters like Umran Malik in the pace department.
"So, if you have to see Umran Malik, instead of white-ball cricket, if you have a Test series that is not that high-profile, give him a chance there, three-four over spells. So, he will be an X-factor in our bowling," he added.