While he has rattled the best batters – on Tuesday Malik knocked down Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma’s helmet – with his extreme pace as well as uprooted stumps, senior fast bowlers like Shami have asked Malik to focus on combining “pace with accuracy”. Shastri agrees with that and pointed out the only thing Malik should be asked to work on post IPL is conditioning himself well, taking enough rest and ensuring he is consistent with his lines.
“He’ll get better and better,” Shastri said. “You see his bowling once he takes a wicket. Look at the lines he starts bowling as opposed to when he has not got wicket – that’s when he is trying everything, his lines are all over the place. You don’t want him to cut down on pace. The last thing you would tell him looking for control, cut down on pace. What you want him to do is get his lines right: if he can bowl that stump line, attack the stumps on a constant basis, varying his lengths, he will trouble him. If he gets a wicket and new guy comes in, he can really rattle him because he has got the pace, he can keep the bloke on his toes, but it’s that line – if he gets into that channel, without cutting his pace it will make a huge difference.”
And if Malik sticks to such a plan, Shastri said he would not be surprised if the 22-year-old will soon be part of the Indian Test squad. “I promise you this guy is going to be a handful in red-ball cricket. Handful, really. If he is part of an Indian pace battery that (already) has Bumrah, Shami, you add this bloke in (as) a fourth guy it’s going to be a serious (bowling) attack.”
Bhuvneshwar pointed out that he had worked out delivering yorkers was the “best option” based on the behaviour of the pitch and he managed to pull it off. Malik then wanted to know what was the key to bowl successfully in death overs, the most difficult phase in T20 cricket. “The most necessary things in death bowling is to keep yourself calm because what happens often is the pressure comes as soon as a boundary is hit,” Bhuvneshwar told Malik in the chat on iplt20.com. “So the only thing I will say is how much you can keep calm and have a calm mind then it will help you.”