Former England batter Kevin Pietersen has called for Umran Malik’s inclusion in the Test squad to face England later this year. Pietersen believes that the English team would be uncomfortable facing a bowler with his pace.
Malik, who debuted in the 2021 IPL season, has been one of the fastest bowlers in the ongoing edition. The right-arm speedster clocked a pace of 156.9 kph against the Delhi Capitals and has taken 15 wickets in 10 games at an economy rate of 8.92.
In his column for Betway, Pietersen wrote that Malik needs to be fast-tracked to India’s Test team immediately as every batter would feel uncomfortable playing at such pace. The 41-year-old thinks India can use the Sunrisers Hyderabad paceman in short bursts and wrote:
“To me, there is no point waiting around. Malik should be in the reckoning for India’s Test team, as well as white-ball sides. Nobody enjoys facing that kind of pace. You could use him like Australia used to use Mitchell Johnson, in short three- or four-over spells so that he can just let rip.”
“If I was an India selector, I’d pencil him in for that Test match against England in July. The England batters are currently facing 70 mph seamers in county cricket, so they certainly won’t want to be facing 90-95 mph bowling all of a sudden. He is a breakout star of this competition and India would be silly not to use him straight away.”
The 22-year-old’s best figures of 4-0-25-5 came against the Gujarat Titans when he dismissed the opposition batters with sheer pace. However, the game ended in a five-wicket loss for the 2016 champions.
“It’s about time that England backed the talent of Liam Livingstone” – Kevin Pietersen
As for England’s Test squad, Pietersen advocated for Liam Livingstone’s inclusion due to the explosive nature of his batting. Pietersen feels the all-rounder can take the game on, batting at five or six. He wrote:
“Talking of players who should be involved in that England v India Test, it’s about time that England backed the talent of Liam Livingstone. He is so free-spirited and I love the way that he is eager to entertain. He wants to give it a smack so he just does, no holding back. It’s awesome to watch.”
“There aren’t many better batters than him in England, I tell you. He’s used to playing in this high-pressure environment and he’s loving it. I would have him straight in the Test side at five or six. He can change the nature of a match very quickly by taking bowling attacks apart.”
Livingstone has cemented his spot in England’s limited-overs squad with some compelling performances with bat and ball. He has performed equally well in 62 first-class matches, scoring 3069 runs at a strike rate of 38.36.