By Sominder Koul
Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], April 29 (ANI): Umran Malik, a pace bowler from Jammu, representing the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, is garnering a lot of acclaim from fans and players for his speed, accuracy and wicket-taking ability.
In his eight IPL games so far, the youngster has scalped 15 wickets at an average of 15.93 and an economy of 7.96. His best bowling figures are 5/25 against Gujarat Titans. He has clocked deliveries above 150 kmph in the ongoing season of IPL.
Malik’s father, Abdul Rashid is extremely happy with his son’s performance in IPL.
“He bowled really well. One gets to learn a lot there (IPL). He did not do well in two matches and people talked how bowling fast does not mean everything. But, nobody is born with all his skills mastered. He learns them. There are big players, like Dale Steyn (SRH bowling coach), who have taught him a lot about bowling. Now the entire country is showing him love, telling that he is the future of India,” said Rashid to ANI.
Rashid hopes that his son will soon don the blue jersey and represent the national side in international cricket.
About his son’s performance against Gujarat Titans, against who he took a five-wicket haul, Rashid said, “We were watching the match, people were watching too. They told him that they had come to watch him bowl. It felt so heart-touching how much name he has made for himself. He works so hard. We are all happy.”
Amid this acclaim, his coach Randhir Singh Ranjan is very optimistic about his pupil’s chances of representing India at the highest level.
“In the first three matches, his economy was on the higher side. He adjusted well in the next five games, bowling the line and lengths utilised in test matches. I would not be surprised if he will play in a format with the South Africa t20s, England tour and Ireland tour coming up,” said Ranjan while talking to ANI.
On his bowling speed, the coach said that Malik was always a very fast bowler, though there were no gadgets available to gauge his speed.
“It was confirmed for us though that his speed was above 140 kmph. Last year, he bowled 2-3 bowlers that touched the 150-mark. He will only improve with time, age is on his side. He has said that if god hopes, he will bowl at 155 kmph. It would not be a big thing for him if he keeps working hard like this,” he added.
Ranjan believes that India has got a great genuine fast bowler for the future, citing how former captain Saurav Ganguly emphasised the need of a pool of fast bowlers to win matches outside.
“Today, we have a great pool of fast bowlers. In IPL, every team has great bowlers,” he added.
On comparisons of Indian fast bowlers with Pakistan, a country known for producing some of the best fast bowlers in the game, Ranjan said that comparison is not very surprising given common topography and diet of north Indians and regions of Pakistan like Punjab and Rawalpindi. “More fast bowlers will come out of Jammu. Even he (Umran) says that there are bowlers there bowling above 140,” he added.
Reminiscing on his journey with Malik, Ranjan said that his pupil was not always hard-working but started to work hard in his u-19 days. “During the COVID-19 lockdowns, he and other boys took special permission to play at JKCA ground and worked hard. The result is here,” he added.
Malik’s uncle, Nazir Ahmed is also very happy with Malik’s performance in IPL 2022. He fully expects him to represent the national side soon.
“He has always been hard-working. He has always been this fast, children in his mohalla used to fear him when he played. He has this natural ability to bowl fast. With grace of god, he will progress further and make his family and country proud. He will soon bowl at 155 kmph too,” he added. (ANI)