Umran Malik: Three men talked about him, Kane Willaimson, Virat Kohli and Jason Holder! All three are modern day legends of the game!
-‘Pace is Umran Malik’s biggest asset, he has great control: Jason Holder’!
– ‘Umran Malik clocked 153kph to bowl the fastest delivery of IPL 2021 against RCB. Malik achieved this feat in the 4th delivery of the 9th over against Devdutt Padikkal. RCB batter got the outside edge and scored a run on the fastest delivery of IPL 2021.’
-‘ Umran Malik is the perfect example of how to make rare and important moments of your life count. Making his debut during SunRisers Hyderabad’s final match of the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League, he knew that this might be the only opportunity he would get to be noticed on the big stage, and he made the most out of it.’
– Bowling the fastest delivery of the ongoing season recorded at 153 kmph, the 21-year old not only scalped an important wicket against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Srikar Bharat but also proved that he could bowl these lightening-fast deliveries at a consistent rate as he went over the 150kmph mark over six times in just one match.
-‘Very few could do that. I did see a video time and again. Rather I saw it many times and the competitors were all the best possible fast bowlers of that time! The names included, Roberts, Holding, Clarke (Sylvester), Wayne Daniel, Dennis lillee, Jeff Thomson, Garth Le Roux the South African giant, Imran khan and so many other bowling at just the wickets (time and again shattering them with high pedigreed velocity). Obviously the slinger, Thommo won it with his last take! But all of them playing for different teams at that time were ruthless! Perhaps Umar may not have been born at that time! But trust me he can sling a ball at the batsman with an unimaginable speed! He showed it!’
-‘Thanks to IPL, Malik not only got an opportunity to compete against the likes of batting great and India captain Virat Kohli, but he could also share the dressing room with New Zealand’s legendary batter Kane Williamson. Interestingly, both these players had only good things to say about Malik after Hyderabad handed a 4-run defeat to Bangalore at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi!
-‘ No he has got the opening burst, he has just to maintain his composure! The world’s best compete in IPL and the cricket happening all over the world. Mind you Jaspreet Bumrah too started as a nobody but today he the probably the best amongst the fast bowlers in the world and all the tricks of the trade he learnt in the Indian Premier League where the best in the world play the game of 22 yards as bowlers fire in with sheer shoulder and wrist pace, the bouncers, yorkers, out swingers, inswingers, reverse swing, leg cutters and slower balls! Ukram has to learn and there are people to teach him at that stage’! But what matters is that he has the physique to do so and also the fast bowling technique!’
The whole sequence was put across beautifully by an ESPN writer and the extract goes as follows, ‘The first ball from Rashid that Maxwell faces is blasted over deep midwicket. There is a violence to the shot that makes a slog-sweep look like a Game-of-Thrones beheading. In Rashid’s next over, Maxwell repeated the shot, not as cleanly and not as square, but with enough to get another six. Two balls later, he shows he can do finesse as well as brute force, twirling wrists to get a boundary to deep square leg. The script has been upended by Maxwell. However badly IPL 2021 has gone for Sunrisers, they could always count on Rashid controlling the middle overs. And now Maxwell, in perhaps the IPL form of his life, is casually tearing that playbook with swishes of his bat. Without the safety net of Rashid’s middle-overs control, there is no way Sunrisers can hope to defend a total as meagre as 141. Umran Malik’s spell of 4-0-21-1 helped increase the required rate through the middle overs. This cannot be happening. That Sunrisers stayed in the game without allowing it to run away is down to Umran Malik. It could be a chant one day. While Rashid was taken for 24 runs in two overs, Umran sandwiched him with a spell of 3-0-10-1. In what might have been unthinkable, Sunrisers have got a modicum of middle-overs control despite Rashid going for 12 an over, thanks to a 21-year-old playing only his second ever IPL game, and fourth game of white-ball cricket at the senior level (one List A, three T20s). Umran didn’t just bowl quick, he bowled quick on a surface where the other bowlers are finding success by taking pace off the ball, with cutters that gripped. He bowled quick enough to have Maxwell – in supreme hitting form – hopping and being late on the ball. He bowled so quickly he registered 153kph on the speed gun, the fastest delivery in IPL 2021 so far.’
This was a dream, the quick run up that reminded me of West Indian greats like Malcolm Marshall (the genius), Merry Martindale (the fox), Wes Hall (the batsman buster) and Charlie Griffith (the brute)! All came from humble backgrounds but what they did on 22 yards was extraordinary! They scared the batsman, would be an understatement! That was the pace and what was being seen was a repetition of all those years of exciting cricket, the bustling run, the leap of the tiger bang on the crease and then the final hurl, oh! Simply gorgeous stuff! Perhaps it looked like the kid was born to bowl fast and quick! That evening he showed that he could!
After registering a thrilling four-run win over the Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, SunRisers Hyderabad all-rounder Jason Holder said that Umran Malik’s biggest asset is his pace. The exact words, ‘the first thing to mention is his pace, that is his biggest asset. He has been consistent in training and he has been giving us a hard time in training. He is very hard to get hold of, he has been deceiving the batters through his pace and that extra pace adds a boost to any bowling attack’.
Cricketing journeys don’t travel at the speed of an Umran thunderbolt, and this has barely begun. It has already taken him almost a full season of being a net bowler with Sunrisers, and then Covid-19 hitting a team-mate, to get an opportunity.
I The proud father:
‘Malik got a further reason to cheer when none other than captain of RCB Kohli himself agreed to sign a jersey for him at the conclusion of the match. While talking to the presenters, Kohli lauded Malik for his speed but said now he should focus on keeping his body fit. ‘(Umran Malik) good to see a guy bowling at 150 clicks. It’s important to understand the progress of individuals from here, how to look after yourself. We’ve got to maximise the potential of our fast-bowling stocks, was what Virat the modern day batting legend said!’
Sun Risers Hyderabad would have not have made into the playoffs and that everyone knew but for his father, Abdul Malik, it didn’t matter one bit. He was simply overjoyed about the fact that he got to see his son on the television, doing the only thing he had dedicated all his life to and that too on foreign soil, no less. It isn’t common to see players from Jammu and Kashmir make it big in the Indian cricket circuit, especially when they do not have the money to travel to the bigger cities for trials, or when they have to depend on their daily wages to find out how much food they will be able to afford the next day. All these things meant nothing to his father. From a vegetable and fruit seller and firing missiles at the batsmen in IPL needs some doing! This kid proved that he could do it!
I will conclude this one by quoting what his captain said after he was amazed at this achievement which he expressed speaking in the post match presentation, ’Umran certainly is special. We’ve seen him in the nets for a couple of seasons. Special opportunity for him and it’s not surprising to see him come and do well. Been a really valuable addition to the side! Next year’s IPL is not far off Umran, so another fling from 22 yards over the wicket is awaited by the fans and especially so by his proud family!’