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Shami: Speed not everything, Umran needs to ‘be accurate at high pace’

Mohammed Shami wants Umran Malik to be given time to develop his game and “be accurate at high pace”, while Mohsin Khan needs to “focus on game plans” before being talked about as one for higher honours.

“Umran has the pace, but if you ask me, I am not a fan of high pace. If you can bowl at 140 clicks and move it both ways and reverse it, it is enough to get the better of batters,” Shami said on Friday at a press interaction. Playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Malik has caught the eye with his high speeds at IPL 2022, including the quickest delivery of the season: 156.9kph.

“He has the pace and has everything, but he needs a bit more time to mature. He needs to be accurate at high pace,” Shami, the experienced India pacer who plays for Gujarat Titans, said.

Malik, 22, has picked up 15 wickets in 11 bowling innings so far, but has an economy rate of 9.10, the sixth-most expensive among fast bowlers who have bowled in at least ten innings this season. In each of his last three outings, his economy rate has been 12 or more.

“I don’t believe that the economy rate for the entire season paints the true picture,” Shami said. “You should see where and how the bowler has bowled. If someone has been used in the powerplay and he goes for runs, you shouldn’t mind because wickets are important in the powerplay.

“Although it is important to have the economy under control, it is important to take into account the conditions as well. There is very little time to think in T20s. As a fast bowler, the rules are against you as well. I don’t think attacking fast bowlers will have their economy rates under 8 or 8.50.”

“I used to tell him that he needs to control himself now that he has a lot of responsibility. With cameras and social media around, every small thing is magnified and shown as if it has not happened before.”

Mohammed Shami on Hardik Pandya

Lucknow Super Giants quick Mohsin’s economy of 5.19 in six outings, meanwhile, is the best among bowlers who have bowled in at least five innings. He has ten wickets to show for his efforts. Shami knows 23-year-old Mohsin better than he knows Umran, since Mohsin had travelled to Amroha recently to train with Shami and created a good impression.

“Mohsin has practiced with me and is young and strong – he needs to focus more on game plans and [making a] routine. He can set himself up mentally and physically at this stage because that will help him later,” Shami said. “When we used to play, we didn’t know what is needed at the higher level. But the new crop like Mohsin and Umran can do well and have a good future.

“There are a lot of new fast bowlers coming through, both right-armers and left-armers, and it is good to see that the future of India’s fast bowling is in their hands.”

Shami himself has had a very good season. He has picked up 16 wickets, the most so far for Titans, who have become the first team to qualify for the playoffs. His economy a shade under eight. In the last four years at the IPL, only Kagiso Rabada, Yuzvendra Chahal and Jasprit Bumrah have more wickets than his 74.

His economy rate of 6.12 in the powerplay is the second-best among those who have bowled in at least nine innings in the phase in IPL 2022. Moreover, he has ten wickets to show when the fielding restrictions have been on.

“Whenever I have been given the white ball, I have tried and performed well,” Shami said. “If you look at the last three-four seasons, nobody has taken more wickets than me [he is fourth on the list]. Whenever I have been given the responsibility, I have fulfilled the role to the best of my ability.”

Hardik has “grown in the role” after becoming captain

Though an inexperienced captain, Hardik Pandya has succeeded in rallying his troops well in the team’s debut IPL season, and Shami had a lot of praise for his Titans captain.

“He is aggressive as well as chilled out. Ever since he has become the captain, he’s become normal and his reactions have reduced,” Shami said. “As the head of this family, it was important to be sensible and understand the situation, which he has done. I have seen a lot of changes in him as a captain as compared to player.

“I used to tell him that he needs to control himself now that he has a lot of responsibility. With cameras and social media around, every small thing is magnified and shown as if it has not happened before. He used to seem hassled at the start but has grown in the role and has done it well.”

S Sudarshanan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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