Jasprit Bumrah idolises Lasith Malinga, they are similar kind of bowlers: Zaheer Khan

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Former India pacer and Director of Cricket Operations at Mumbai Indians, Zaheer Khan has said Jasprit Bumrah has benefited a lot by spending time with Lasith Malinga at the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise.

Zaheer Khan pointed out that Malinga during his heyday and Bumrah are similar bowlers and that the experience of the Sri Lankan pacer will benefit the entire Mumbai Indians unit in IPL 2019, starting March 23.

Malinga, who had worked as a bowling mentor after going unsold in the auctions ahead of IPL 2018, has returned to the team as a player for the upcoming season. Malinga was bought at his base price of Rs 2 crore by Mumbai at this year’s auction.

Long-standing injuries had forced Malinga to contemplate retirement last year but the veteran pacer has returned to playing international cricket for Sri Lanka and is likely to lead the Asian side at next year’s World Cup.

Expressing delight at the return of Malinga, Zaheer said the veteran pacer’s experience will help captain Rohit Sharma a lot when it comes to decision making on the field.

“We are excited about it [Malinga’s return from having been a coaching staff to a player]. The kind of experience he brings to the table is immense. Not only with his bowling but when you’re in a game situation, it’s a relief for Rohit and other bowlers who trust his experience and the valuable advice,” Zaheer told the media on Tuesday.

He added: “As a coaching staff, you can plan things, but when things are happening in real time, a proactive person on the field makes a huge difference in terms of decision making.

“And you have someone like Malinga as well. Bumrah kind of idolises him as well. Malinga in his peak and Bumrah are two similar kind of bowlers. Bumrah has benefitted spending time with Malinga.”

Bumrah has evolved into one of the best bowlers across all formats of the game. The Baroda bowler joined the Mumbai Indians camp in 2013 but shot to prominence after some consistent performances in the 2016 edition of IPL.

Bumrah, who is one of the best exponents of yorker in white-ball cricket, has often credited his ability to execute them to the time he had spent with Malinga at Mumbai Indians.

Meanwhile, Rohit Sharma heaped praise on Mumbai Indians’ scouts for unearthing talents who had gone on to play for India in the recent past.

“Mumbai’s scouts should be given credit for travelling to remote places and finding these talents. When we found Bumrah and Axar [Patel] playing in of the district-level matches in Gujarat, we went and watched them play.

“Although Bumrah didn’t get to play the first few years, look where he is right now. The same with Hardik [Pandya], Krunal [Pandya] and Mayank [Markande]. It’s great to see these players take their game to the next level.”

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