Mumbai: Former India cricketer and the director of cricket at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), VVS Laxman has advised pace sensation, Umran Malik, to focus on his game and learn to understand how to stay away from the ‘on and off’ field distractions.

Umran bowled the fastest delivery of IPL 2022 when he clocked 157 kmph during his team’s match against Delhi Capitals at the Brabourne Stadium, here on May 5. Umran, who has been enthralling cricket fans with his searing pace in the cash-rich league is learning the tricks from former South African great Dale Steyn, who is currently serving as Sunrisers Hyderabad’s pace-bowling coach.

“When you are playing at the highest level, very soon you realise that you have to control your actions (off the field). There will be so many advisors, so many expectations to fulfil but players who play at the highest level very soon cordon all that off and focus on what is to be done,” Laxman told reporters on the sidelines of a Dream Set Go event.

“I am sure Umran or anyone who plays for the country will learn that very soon. The sooner they learn that they will be successful. So no need of bouncers (around him), it is important to bowl bouncers,” said Laxman.

Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh said at the same event that he hoped to see Umran playing for India in the T20 World Cup later this year.

“He is my favourite. I want to see him in the Indian team. Umran Malik should partner Jasprit Bumrah when India play in Australia,” said Harbhajan.

Earlier, former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen wanted the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to immediately draft Sunrisers Hyderabad pace sensation, Umran Malik, into the Test side, as there is “no point waiting around”.

“It’s amazing to see such bold and exciting talent on display, and he has a perfect mentor in the SRH dugout in Dale Steyn. There is no better man to sit with and talk about fast bowling. To me, there is no point waiting around. Malik should be in the reckoning for India’s Test team, as well as white-ball sides. Nobody enjoys facing that kind of pace,” Pietersen had said.