A bolt of lightning struck during the first T20I against Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium as India’s new wild child Umran Malik sent the speed gun into a tizzy. After hanging in the high 140s during his spell, he bowled a 155 mph delivery that knocked out Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka. The ball didn’t come to Shanaka’s mind, nor did it hit his ribs. But he ended up hitting it straight to Yuzvendra Chahal at extra cover.
The 23-year-old, the son of a fruit seller from Gujjar Nagar, a humble town in Jammu, is known for instilling fear in the minds of batsmen and his time with former South African pacer Dale Steyn at Sunrisers Hyderabad has whetted his appetite fueled. come quick.
After the end of the last IPL season, while at Jammu, Malik shared an interesting anecdote with Raman Thaploo – a cricketer from J&K who has closely followed Malik’s journey – about what Steyn told him after the last Sunrisers match.
“Dale Steyn said to Umran, ‘You were born to drive a Ferrari, don’t ever switch to a Fiat,'” Thaploo recalled the conversation.
“Tom Moody and Muttiah Muralitharan’s advice was never to compromise on his pace because it is his weapon with which to terrorize batsmen,” added Thaploo.
Malik has taken the instructions to heart and in his short international career (5 ODIs and 4 T20Is) has added that colorful spice to the Indian pace attack.
Jammu and Kashmir’s field coach Tanmay Srivastava, a former India Under-19 cricketer and a veteran of 90 first-class matches, was stunned to see the wicketkeeper’s gloves vibrating every time he collected Malik’s deliveries.
“We played Vijay Hazare Trophy in Mohali and it was the first time I saw a wicketkeeper and slips that far. We are in the dressing room and you can clearly hear the sound of the ball hitting the palm of the wicket-keeper’s gloves. I have never seen anything like it in my career,” Srivastava told The Indian Express from Surat, where J&K are playing against Railways.
Tanmay also pointed out why Malik, a wiry man with a swimmer’s body, can generate so much speed. “Superior genes. A natural talent. And his run-up is from where he generates that pace. It’s very smooth, his steps are like a sprinter’s and that gives him momentum. I found that out after taking a closer look at it,” says Tanmay.
By the end of his 4-0-27-2 spell on Tuesday, Malik had Wankhede Stadium on his feet, the ovation accompanied by chants of “Umran, Umran” and “Malik, Malik.”
His love affair with Wankhede had started during the IPL when he won a five wicket haul against the eventual IPL champions Gujarat Titans. The Wankhede crowd applauded Malik’s every delivery. There were oohs and aahs during that 24-ball spell.
Vivrant Sharma, Malik’s old friend and his J&K and now SRH teammate, reveals that the claps, whistles and cheers make Malik more dangerous.
“Even on the nets when people start cheering for him, it gives him an adrenaline rush. He will start bowling faster,” shares Vivrant, who was picked up by SRH in the recent IPL auction for Rs 2.6 crore.
160 in nets
“Uska hai ki but hi dena hai batsman ko aur net pe toh no-ball ka koi concept hai nahi wo 22 yard 18 yard ho jata hai aur agar 4 logo ne waah Umran waah kar diya fir aapko bhagwan hi bacha sakte hai (He has net wants to go hard to the batsman and into the nets, you don’t have the concept of no-ball, reduce 22 yards to 18, and if few people start chanting his name then only god can save you”, laughs Vivrant.
Vivrant also talks about how his batting improved by facing Malik. “Nets pe toh Umran 160 lagena hai usko face karne ka baad 135 waale haluwa lagte hai (He bowls at 160 in the nets and after facing him it’s very easy to face bowlers at 135)” , adds Vivrant.
Despite bowling 155 km/h last night, Malik is not losing sleep over reaching 160 km/h, says his coach Randhir Manhas.
“I spoke to him today [Tuesday] also and trust me he doesn’t lose his sleep trying to get to that 160 barrier. He is a rhythm bowler and one day he may bowl 160, but that will be one ball. His main goal is to bowl all six deliveries in the high 140s,” says Manhas.
Malik played only one Ranji Trophy match for J&K this season and then returned to Jammu as he was ordered to focus on limited overs, according to his coach.“He has been told to focus on the white ball. The only Test series India will play (for a while) is against Australia and the team management is in no rush to rush him into a red ball,” says Manhas.
Manhas also pointed out a few changes in Malik after the Bangladesh tour.
“He never bowled slower back-of-the-hand. This time I saw him working on his variations. He worked on his yorkers, slower bouncers and it was a pleasant surprise to me,” says Manhas.
Malik’s rise in the game has been swift; only five years ago he had to play cricket with a leather ball. And if this diamond in the rough can be properly cut, the finished product promises to be a nightmare for hitters around the world. The story of Umran Malik has just begun.