'Won't be fair to those who have performed in first-class cricket' - Ishant Sharma believes Umran Malik is not ready for Test cricket

Ishant Sharma says that Umran Malik must have a great first-class record before being considered for Test cricket.

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Umran Malik in practice session
Indian pacer Umran Malik in practice session. (Photo Source: BCCI)

In the world of cricket, there is a constant debate on when a player is ready to make the leap from domestic cricket to the international stage. Recently, Ishant Sharma, the experienced Indian pacer, expressed his opinion on the matter, specifically regarding the young and promising Umran Malik.

While Umran has been included in India's limited-overs squad for the upcoming series against West Indies, he was not considered for the Test matches. During a discussion, Ishant was asked about Umran's readiness for Test cricket, to which he responded giving a balanced perspective.

Ishant acknowledged Umran's raw pace but raised concerns about his consistency and lack of a solid first-class record.

"When he has a good first-class record, he has the pace but consistency is a question mark. If you have to play him Test cricket for a long time, you need to give him a little time to do well in first-class cricket and then you can select him for Test cricket," he said while commentating on JioCinema.

The veteran emphasized the importance of rewarding seamers who have consistently performed in first-class cricket. He said,

"You won't be fair to those who have performed in first-class cricket for so many years, picked up wickets for their team and for themselves so that they can play at a higher level."

Umran's current first-class records do not support an immediate Test call-up. In seven matches, he has managed only 12 wickets at an average of 46.67. As per Ishant, considering his lack of experience in bowling long spells with the red ball, fast-tracking him to the Test format could prove counterproductive.

Ishant Sharma favors Arshdeep Singh's Test potential

Sharma's views on Umran Malik's readiness for Tests were not the only talking point, he was also asked about another young seamer, Arshdeep Singh, who has been putting up impressive performances in county cricket for Kent.

Ishant spoke highly of Arshdeep Singh, highlighting his left-arm angle and ability to swing the ball both ways. He mentioned Singh's increased pace and accuracy, which could be valuable assets in Test cricket.

"His pace has gone up a lot from the T20 World Cup to this season's IPL. How fast you bowl with the old ball is very important in Test cricket," Ishant stated.

Arshdeep Singh has demonstrated his potential in the domestic circuit, picking up 33 wickets in ten first-class matches at an average of 28.24. His recent performances for Kent in the ongoing county season have also been noteworthy as he has taken eight wickets in three matches.

Ishant Sharma's perspective on Umran Malik reflects the importance of a strong first-class record as a prerequisite for Test selection. While Umran shows promise with his pace, it is crucial for him to excel in the longer format before making the leap to Test cricket. On the other hand, Arshdeep Singh's consistent performances in first-class cricket and his current stint in county cricket make him a potential candidate for Test cricket.

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