Prefer Mohammed Siraj over Umran Malik, says ex-India bowler RP Singh


Former Indian pacer RP Singh said that he prefers Mohammed Siraj over Umran Malik as he finds the former more skillful. However, he also said that Umran Malik, the latest pace sensation has great pace and should be in the mix for the upcoming ODI World Cup if India wants some genuine pace.

RP Singh, who is a member of the expert panel in the SA20 League, had a conversation with the media on Thursday.

Discussing India’s preparation for the 2023 World Cup, he said “The World Cup is too far. Umran has great speed, pace, and he is using it well. He is improving his skill, though he is not at 100 per cent skill. So you want a bowler who crosses the 150 mark while bowling in World Cup, he should definitely be in mix. Pace is pace and it works when the wicket has no spark. Pace will shake the batter. How we nurture him is important. He has to be rested well, protected well but should also get to play regularly,” said Singh during the conversation.

He also added “However, currently, I prefer Siraj (Mohammed Siraj). He is more skillful. Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami are there and the team is built around them. Umran is currently number four for me.”

On including veteran Shikhar Dhawan in the mix for the 2023 World Cup, Singh said that the emergence of new opening batters and batting strike rate have made things difficult for them.

The 2007 World T20 champion said “His (Shikhar) journey has been good. But somewhere, that strike rate is causing concern. And there are a lot of players who are emerging to take his spot as an opener, like Shuibman Gill, Ishan Kishan, Ruturaj Gaikwad. While he is still doing well for his spot, I think chances of him being in the mix are less.”

Talking about Shivam Mavi, a pacer from his state Uttar Pradesh, Singh said that the pacer has pace and inswingers but needs to develop the ability to bowl yorkers at will.

Reacting to the question, “Whether Team India should move on from seniors in T20Is and become a completely young team? He maintained the importance of a good mix of youth and experience.

“We used this tried and tested formula in 2007 and we won. We had youngsters, middle-level and senior players. Youngsters do not have the same game reading as seniors and that is what makes them important. Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir helped us out back then. Youngsters provide energy and deliver what seniors want. Such combination must be maintained, no juniors completely, no seniors completely either,” said Singh. 

On South Africa’s under-19 star batter Dewald Brevis’s comparisons with legendary AB de Villiers, Singh said that Brevis still has a long way to go.

“You cannot compare with AB. He is a different breed. Whatever glimpses I could get of Brevis, he is dominant at square leg and cow corner,” added the bowler. Brevis rose to fame after an incredible ICC Under-19 World Cup 2022. He scored 506 runs in six innings at an average of 84.33, with two centuries and three fifties. Following this, he got to play in numerous T20 leagues worldwide, including the Indian Premier League (IPL), in which he scored 161 runs in seven innings at an average of 23 and strike rate of 142-plus.

On being asked how SA20 is going to help South African cricket, Singh reacted by saying, “Leagues help in finding local talent. Along with local talent, the local crowds also attend the match, which is good. Players get to learn a lot in these leagues. In IPL, we got to play with likes of Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds, which helped us.”

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