Zaheer Khan Feels India Might Bring In Pacer Umran Malik For The 3rd T20I To Add X-Factor And As Vizag Is A Small Ground

Zaheer Khan, a former Indian pacer reckons that Team India might bring in rookie fast bowler Umran Malik for the third T20I against South Africa on Tuesday (June 12) in an endeavor to add some X-factor to their bowling line-up.

Having lost the first two matches of the series, the hosts face a must-win situation in the third game in Vizag to stay alive. On Sunday, South Africa defeated India by four wickets in Cuttack. Chasing a below-par 149, they got home courtesy of Heinrich Klaasen’s blazing 46-ball 81.

Despite Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s fantastic figures of 4 for 13, Heinrich Klaasen’s superb 81 made it a walk in the park for the Proteas as they knocked off the runs in 18.2 overs. In the second T20I, South African wicketkeeper-batter Heinrich Klaasen scored 81 runs from 46 balls to help his side beat India by four wickets.

The 30-year-old, who was included in the playing XI in place of injured opening batter Quinton de Kock, hammered 7 fours and 5 sixes during his stay at the crease.

Heinrich Klaasen scored 81 runs from 46 balls in the 2nd T20I against India. Photo: AP

Zaheer Khan Fees Inclination Might Be Towards Umran Malik For The 3rd T20I

Zaheer Khan believes Team India must look to add some zing to their bowling line-up for the next game after being defeated in the first two T20Is.

In a discussion, Zaheer Khan opined: “Inclination might be towards Umran for the next match. Extra pace can be handy. We have seen that in the IPL. We have seen Umran get (David) Miller out as well on one occasion with the ball, coming around the wicket and bowling really fast. That’s something which can be a good match-up. You can go for runs as well, but you need to have that X-factor, something different which will, maybe, have that impact.”

Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer Umran Malik celebrates the wicket of Tilak Varma. Photograph: BCCI
Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer Umran Malik celebrates the wicket of Tilak Varma. Photograph: BCCI

The former left-arm pacer explained that the small ground in Vizag is another reason why India must go for an extra pacer instead of two spinners in Axar Patel and Yuzvendra Chahal.

Zaheer Khan added: “A tweak in personnel is going to be required. Maybe due to the small ground, the spinners might be under pressure. We might see a quick bowler coming in. I am expecting that one change purely because the ground is small.”

Apart from Umran Malik, Team India also has young left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh in their squad, who has impressed while representing the Punjab Kings in the last two IPL seasons.

Sunrisers Hyderabad pace sensation Umran Malik has been one of the finds of the 15th season of the cash-rich league. He has impressed the selectors not just with his raw pace, clocking consistently over 150 kph, but also with his wicket-taking abilities.

In 14 games this season, he has picked 22 wickets for SRH at a strike rate of just 13.57 and an economy rate of 9.03. Umran Malik, Sunrisers Hyderabad’s leading wicket-taker this season had picked 22 scalps from 14 IPL 2022 games averaging an impressive 20.18 with a best of 5/25.

Zaheer Khan : India Must Get Into A Habit Of Winning Games Irrespective Of Opposition

Reflecting on India’s two losses against South Africa, Zaheer Khan said that the hosts must develop a habit of winning, irrespective of who is playing, considering the forthcoming 2022 T20I World Cup in mind.

Zaheer Khan explained: “When you are talking about the big World Cup, you want to get into a habit of winning games, no matter who is taking the field. The key players are not part of the series, but you still have a brand of cricket that you have been playing. As a culture in the team, it is very important to protect that. Winning all the remaining games is a good challenge, but it’s not going to be easy.”

Zaheer Khan. Image-Sportstar
Zaheer Khan. Image-Sportstar

After the third T20I in Vizag, the remaining two matches of the series will be played in Rajkot (June 17) and Bengaluru (June 19).

Brief Scores: 2nd T20I:

India 148/6 (Shreyas Iyer 40, Dinesh Karthik 30 not out, Ishan Kishan 34, Anrich Nortje 2/36, Kagiso Rabada 1/15). South Africa 149/2 in 18.2 overs (Heinrich Klaasen 81, Bhuvneshwar Kumar 4/13).

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