'He isn't just keen on playing T20s. All eyes will be on him in near future': Nehra on India's 'shining light' from NZ
Former fast bowler Ashish Nehra identified a youngster from the Indian squad that played in New Zealand and has backed him to be in the frame for the long haul.
India's series New Zealand ended being a bitter-sweet affair for the Men in Blue as they began the tour by winning the T20Is but concluded it by losing the ODIs, both by a 1-0 margin. A series that could have offered a lot more was a damp squib as only two matches out of six produced a results and the rest were affected by rain. Still, India would take home a few positives such as the forms of Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer. Gill, the India opener, scored 50 in the first ODI in Auckland and hit an unbeaten 45 in the second game at Hamilton before the match was abandoned. Meanwhile, Iyer continued his love affair with New Zealand, and with scores of 80 and 49, took off from where he had left in 2020.
Having said that, another India youngster who impressed with his performance was pacer Umran Malik. The 23-year-old did not play the T20Is but made his ODI debut in the first match where he picked up 2/66. Umran picked two out of the three New Zealand wickets to fall and cranked up the speed gun regularly clocking over 145 clicks and even hitting the 153 kph bracket. Umran, who had already impressed the likes of Zaheer Khan and Ravi Shastri, has now grabbed the attention of Ashish Nehra with his impressive showing, who reserves special praise for the promising India quick.
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"There is no doubt that he is one of the shining lights of not only this tour but whenever he has played before. Everybody is excited about him and the main reason is his pace. You said that he is not someone who is only looking to bowl 4 overs. He has started his career with T20 cricket but I have seen him bowl 16-18 and 20 overs with rapid pace. He is young, he is quick. He is not someone who will hold back or bowl only 80-85 percent. He is not someone only looking to play T20 cricket which is a great thing in today's day and age," Nehra said exclusively on Prime Video.
The former India fast bowler reckons Umran can be in it for the long haul. Backing the speedster to bowl long spells in the time to come, Nehra pointed out that the next few months will go a long way in determining how Umran's career is shaped but mentioned that the 23-year-old is certain to capture the imagination of a lot more people in the future.
"We have seen how T20 cricket has evolved. Majority of the players are keener to play T20 cricket first and that way he is different. The more you play the better he will get. He has shown good control with the old ball and it will be interesting to see how he bowls with the new ball, how the selectors use him and how the management wants him to be used. There is no doubt about it that all eyes will be on him in near future," he added.