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Visa delay denies India 150kmph net bowler Umran Malik ahead of T20 WC


Umran Malik and Kuldeep Sen, who caught the eye with their express speed during the Indian Premier League, will not go to Australia, despite the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) naming the duo among the net bowlers chosen to assist the team in the lead-up to the ICC T20 World Cup.

The reason: Delay in getting visas for Australia.

Malik, from Jammu and Kashmir, and Madhya Pradesh’s Sen, along with Chetan Sakariya and Mukesh Chaudhary, were the four pacers chosen to accompany the 15-member official squad which travelled from India to Perth to take part in warm-up games. Sakariya and Chaudhary already had their Australia visas as they were part of an exchange programme, and BCCI had applied for visas for the other two pacers later.

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It is learnt that Malik and Sen haven’t received their visas yet and now the Board has decided not to send them to Australia as Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur will be going instead.

The reason for the delay is that Malik and Sen are not part of the official 15-member squad and not even standbys. According to the criteria set by the ICC, the players selected in the squad and those in the reserve list are eligible to get visas quickly, but net bowlers’ cases are not expedited. Apart from the chosen 15, Shami, Shreyas Iyer, Ravi Bishnoi and Deepak Chahar were initially named as standbyes, before Chahar was ruled out due to injury.

As Malik and Sen weren’t in the official list, the process for their visas took more time than expected. The Indian team flew to Perth on October 5 and Malik and Sen too had checked in at the team hotel in Mumbai. They were asked to stay back in the hope that their visas would come, but that didn’t happen. They eventually flew back home and Malik’s name even appeared in the Jammu and Kashmir squad for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

They (Malik and Kuldeep) won’t be going (to Australia) anymore as ICC will be providing net bowlers after October 17. Anyway, other net bowlers will be flying in a few days. We tried for their visas but couldn’t get it done on time. That’s why they have been asked to play Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy,” a BCCI official said.

Meanwhile, former Australia speedster Brett Lee has stated that Malik should have been part of the 15-man squad for the World Cup.

Umran Malik is bowling at 150 km per hour. I mean, when you have the best car in the world, and you leave it in the garage, what’s the point of having that car? Umran Malik should have been picked in the Indian squad for the World Cup,” Lee told Khaleej Times.

Yes, he is young. Yes, he is raw. But he bowls at 150 kmph, so get him in the team. Get him to Australia where the ball flies through. It’s different when you have a guy bowling at 140 kmph and a guy bowling at 150 kmph.”





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