Umran Malik, arguably the fastest pacer in Indian cricket right now, turned 23 on Tuesday. The tearaway right-arm fast bowler from Jammu received wishes from some noted former India cricketers like Irfan Pathan and Robin Uthappa. “Wishing the young speedster Umran Malik a very happy birthday. May you break many stumps,” Irfan tweeted. “Happy birthday Umran Malik Have a super successful year ahead! Looking forward to watching more of you on the big stage!!” tweeted Uthappa. BCCI also took to Twitter to wish Umran on his 23rd birthday.
“Here’s wishing #TeamIndia’s young pace sensation @umran_malik_01 a very happy birthday,” BCCI wrote with an illustration of the fast bowler. The tweet, however, did not go down well with a section of fans. They bombarded the BCCI with tough questions about Umran Malik’s non-selection in the current New Zealand T20Is.
After India’s semi-final exit from the T20 World Cup in Australia, many experts pointed out the need for an express pacer in the Indian bowling unit. The likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Arshdeep Singh appeared toothless when there was no swing on offer, just like in the semi-final against England. India’s team selection for the New Zealand series also painted a similar picture. There was focus on peace with the return of Umran Malik and Mohammed Siraj’s to the squad.
The XI that played in the second T20I at Mount Maunganui after the series opener in Wellington was washed out without a ball being bowled, however, saw little change, at least in the mindset. Umran was ignored as India stuck with the experience of Bhuvneshwar and the guile of young Arshdeep.
Even in the third T20I, the only change that India made was replacing off-spinning all-rounder Washington Sundar with medium pacer Harshal Patel as Umran Malik continued to warm the benches.
Umran burst onto the international scene in the Ireland series. He was rewarded with the India cap after a stellar show for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2022. Umran played a couple of matches in Ireland and then one against England but was dropped after that.
This is why fans were not happy with BCCI and filled the comments section of their birthday tweet for Umran Malik.
Here’s how the fans reacted to BCCI’s tweet on Umran Malik’s birthday
The match on Tuesday in Napier has turned out to be a virtual decider. India are leading the series 1-0 but if New Zealand win the third T20I, the three-match series will end 1-1. Hardik Pandya will have other ideas. He will look to pocket the second series win as a captain. Remember, he is yet to lose a match as India captain.