In a recent analysis of the first One-Day International (ODI) clash between India and the West Indies, prominent cricket commentator Aakash Chopra expressed disappointment over the underutilization of young fast bowler Umran Malik. The match, held in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Thursday, July 27, saw India secure a comfortable victory against the West Indies, but Chopra believes Malik’s potential as an express bowler was not fully utilized.
During the match, Umran Malik was given a mere three-over spell after the powerplay overs. Unfortunately, he remained wicketless, conceding 17 runs as India bowled out the West Indies for a meager total of 114. India’s formidable batting lineup then chased down the target with ease, winning by five wickets and with 27.1 overs to spare, consequently taking a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra expressed his concerns about Umran Malik’s limited involvement in the game. He stated, “Umran Malik – a box that should have been ticked is not ticked. You have kept this fast bowler, done a slightly left-field selection because he wasn’t with the team for the last little while and his IPL was also extremely middling, but you haven’t kept him in the Asian Games.”
Chopra emphasized that the team management missed an opportunity to unleash the young pacer’s potential, particularly given India’s preparations for the upcoming 2023 ODI World Cup. He believed that Umran Malik should have been given another spell towards the end of the West Indies innings, considering the pitch was offering assistance to the spinners. However, India’s star all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja effectively capitalized on the favorable conditions and took three crucial wickets from the other end.
As a result of Jadeja’s impactful performance, Umran Malik was replaced by Kuldeep Yadav, who wreaked havoc on the West Indies’ lower order, finishing with impressive figures of 4/6 in three overs.
Umran Malik’s inclusion in the Indian squad for the ODI series against the West Indies had generated anticipation, given his talent as an express pacer. Nevertheless, his limited opportunity to showcase his abilities in the opening match has left fans and experts, including Aakash Chopra, questioning the team’s decision.
As the ODI series continues, all eyes will be on India’s team management to see how they utilize the young fast bowler’s potential and whether he gets more opportunities to make an impact on the field.