Sunrisers Hyderabad’s head coach, Brian Lara, has justified leaving Umran Malik out of the team’s playing XI, citing the pacer’s poor form in IPL 2023. Despite Umran’s potential, the team must field its best XI, Lara said.

Umran has only played in seven matches this season, taking five wickets with a best figure of 2 for 35. The SRH team management has faced criticism for how they’ve handled the pacer, with some arguing that he hasn’t been given enough opportunities to shine.

Umran Malik’s mentor and former India fast bowler, Irfan Pathan, expressed his bewilderment in a tweet, stating that leaving the “league’s fastest bowler” out of the team confuses him. Despite this, Brian Lara defended the team’s decision, emphasizing the importance of winning and evaluating players based on their current form.

Lara also pointed out that Kartik Tyagi, another young pacer, has only played one match this season despite being a special talent. The team currently has 25 players, and Lara believes that their selection is fair.

SRH was recently eliminated from IPL 2023 after losing to Gujarat Titans by 34 runs. With Umran on the bench, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has led the team’s fast bowling attack, taking 14 wickets in 12 innings, with support from T. Natarajan, who has taken nine wickets.

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s final league match is against Mumbai Indians on Sunday.