Fast bowling has always been a very interesting thing on the cricket field.
A real fast bowler is able to look at his run-up and always gives an adrenaline rush to the viewers who get upset after hitting the batsman’s furniture at high speed.
And in this field, Umran Malik of India, whenever he plays in the IPL these days, is putting everyone on the edge of their seats.
After impressing everyone with his raw speed last season, the 22-year-old Umran son of a fruit vendor from Jammu is setting the IPL stage on fire this season, with deliveries ranging from 145 to 153 kmph and wickets galore.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer, who was retained by the 2016 champions for Rs 4 crore before the final player auction, has taken 15 wickets in eight matches so far and made his maiden five-wicket haul against the Gujarat Titans on Wednesday.
Gujarat lost 5 wickets in an incredible chase of 196 vs SRH and Umran took all 5 wickets. His 5-25 figures in the match are the best of the season so far.
“The idea was just to bowl as fast as I can. The ground is slightly on the smaller side so the idea is to stay on the stumps, mix the pace and try to keep the ball within the stumps,” Malik said.
“God willing, if I have to bowl 155kph, I will do it one day. But at the moment, all I want to do is bowl well.”
Wriddhiman Saha was bowled clean by Imran Malik.
Among those five wickets was the dismissal of Wriddhiman Saha, the third wicket of Umran’s match and one which has become a big talking point among the fans.
Batting at 68, Saha was well set and wants to snatch the game away from the Sunrisers.
After dismissing Gujarat opener Shubman Gill and skipper Hardik Pandya, Umran was already in charge when he bowled a brute of a delivery at a speed of 152.8 kmph.
Saha made room, but it was too late for the yorker to shake his stump to Umran’s delight.
Malik, menacing with a thick mop of hair and a silver chain, bowled Saha with an unplayable yorker.
It was also the fastest delivery of the match.
Umran, who has several entries in the list of fastest balls this season, was declared man of the match even though his team lost the match by 5 wickets.
“Umran is growing in confidence as the tournament unfolds. He bowled exceptionally well tonight,” said Hyderabad coach Tom Moody.
“The most pleasing thing with Umran is he is constantly wanting to learn and improve.”
Surprisingly, Umran has also won the award for the fastest delivery of the match in all the 8 games played this season.
In Wednesday’s match, Umran walked away with the award, although the Gujarat Titans had Lockie Ferguson in their line-up, who currently holds the record for the fastest delivery of the season so far, at 153.9 kmph (vs CSK).
Earlier this season, when Malik’s four-wicket haul helped SRH beat Punjab Kings, another Congress leader, Shashi Tharoor, had also called for him to be inducted into the Indian squad.
“We need him in India colours asap. What a phenomenal talent. Blood him before he burns out! Take him to England for the Test match greentop. He and Bumrah bowling in tandem will terrify the Angrez!” he had tweeted.
The former India tennis great Mahesh Bhupathi tweeted: “A star is born!! #UmranMalik.”
Former Indian batter and Mumbai domestic cricket legend Wasim Jaffer also praised the pacer and tweeted: “The rise and rise of Umran Malik is the story of this IPL. So far he’s been coming to bowl with opposition under pressure but this time came when GT were wicketless and took down the top 3 #SRHvGT #IPL2022.”
Irfan Pathan, a very vocal supporter of the youngster also tweeted, “Umran pace ka Maalik… 5 wickets.”
India spin legend Harbhajan Singh also tweeted, “Umran Malik is rising @SunRisers.”
Among those who were taken in by Malik’s raw pace was senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
“The Umran Malik hurricane is blowing away everything in its way. The sheer pace and aggression is a sight to behold. After today’s performance there can be no doubt that he is the find of this edition of IPL,” he tweeted.
“The BCCI should give him an exclusive coach and quickly induct him into the national team,” he added.
For this extraordinary talent of Jammu and Kashmir, maiden India cap doesn’t seem to be far away off now, which if nurtured and maintained can serve Indian cricket very well for a long time.