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India vs South Africa: Sunil Gavaskar bats for Umran Malik debut in 3rd T20I in Vizag

India vs South Africa: Batting great Sunil Gavaskar said Umran Malik’s pace might give the Indian bowling attack the edge in the 3rd T20I against the Proteas in Vizag on Tuesday.


  • Umran Malik picked up 22 wickets in IPL 2022
  • Umran is part of the 18-man squad for the T20I series
  • India face a must-win situation in the 3rd T20I in Vizag

Former India captain and legendary batter Sunil Gavaskar said India can look at handing Umran Malik a debut in the 3rd T20I against South Africa on Tuesday, saying extra pace might give India the edge in Visakhapatnam. Gavaskar said he wouldn’t make a lot of changes to the XI despite India losing the first 2 matches of the 5-match T20i series at home.

Speaking to India Today, Sunil Gavaskar said Umran Malik has showcased his ability to pick up wickets and the young Jammu and Kashmir bowler might add the necessary firepower to the bowling unit that has struggled so far in the T20I series.

Barring Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who picked up a 4-wicket haul in the 2nd T20I, none of the other India bowlers have managed to impress. The likes of Avesh Khan and Harshal Patel have failed to provide breakthroughs consistently, while Hardik Pandya has not lived up to expectations in the 6th bowler role.

The spin-bowling department has been ordinary with both Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel failing to pose any kind of threat to the South African batters.

South Africa chased down 211 in the first T20I with 7 wickets to spare while they gunned down a below-par total of 148 in the 2nd T20I with 4 wickets to spare.

“I would look at bringing Umran Malik into the team. What we have seen in the two matches is that we have only taken 7 (9) wickets. So we need a bowler who would be able to strike at the top and in the middle overs as well,” Sunil Gavaskar said on the eve of the 3rd T20I.

“If you have the extra pace, yes because of the extra pace, you can go for runs because the ball will speed off the bat that much quicker.

“But he has got the capability of getting wickets. Wickets are the best dot-balls, especially in the white-ball format.

“Not too many other changes, because you don’t want to upset the balance of the team,” he added.


Meanwhile, Gavaskar also shed light on Rishabh Pant’s struggles in the T20I format of the game, saying the expectations from him have gone up multifold after his exploits in Test cricket over the last 18 months.

Pant has managed just 34 runs in 2 T20Is in the ongoing series. Pant’s T20I numbers have been far from impressive as the wicketkeeper-batter has scored 717 runs in 45 matches at an average of less than 24 and a strike rate of less than 130.

“Look at his hitting prowess that we have seen in Test matches over the last 18 months or so, the expectations have gone up. But in Test matches, he has had a little more time to settle down. Here, he hasn’t had the time and therefore, maybe the shot selection… he is trying to make up and get the scoring rate higher, has cost him his wicket,” Gavaskar added.

“This is a very tricky format, if the ball hits the middle of the bat, it goes out of the boundary, if it doesn’t, you get it. It’s a bit like ýou live by the sword and die by the sword,” he added.


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