In a recent match against Gujarat Titans, fastest bowler of Sunrisers Hyderabad Umran Malik picked five wickets, out of which four were clean bowled. Umran Malik, at the age of 22, is among the few bowlers who can bowl at 150+ in their short spell. In the match against almighty Titans, who have won a record 8 out of 9 games played so far, Umran’s brilliant spell could not win the game for the team but attracted attention and appreciation from fans and cricket experts. Speaking about the performance of Umran, Vettori, former Newzealand captain, said, “That pace generates anxiety among batters and not just tailenders, it’s all batters,.” It is worth noting that Umran regularly bowls at the speed of 145+ and frequently goes above 150+. 

Umran hails from Jammu & Kashmir, only 4th player from the state in IPL, and belongs to a family of modest means. His father sells fruits in the local area of Shaheedi Chowk and supports his aspirations. His mother, along with two sisters, also wishes that he would play for India one day.

In the last season of IPL, Umran was called as a replacement for T. Natrajan, who was found COVID positive and made his debut against Kolkata Knight Riders. In the first match only, he bowled five consecutive deliveries at 150+ speed to drew attention and scare the batsman. He was also the fastest Indian bowler of the season, bowling at 152 kmph speed. For his raw speed and straight-line length, he was asked to stay in UAE as a new bowler for Indian Squad for the T20 World cup. Umran was also among the few to be retained by Hyderabad Franchise before this year’s mega auction. 

Indian selectors will definitely have an eye on pacer like Umran Malik for upcoming matches overseas as well as the world cup. As performer Newzealand skipper Daniel Vettori, “We don’t often see bowlers get around the 153-154 mark. That’s exceptional pace, that’s a rarity that we haven’t seen I suppose consistently since the likes of [Brett] Lee, Shoaib Akhtar, or Shaun Tait. So to see that is a huge part of the game now. 

Umran has clearly made his IPL debut in style but he relies heavily on speed. With such speed, it becomes important to bowl at an economical rate. Umran, on a bad day, concedes more than 9 runs per over and that is an area he still needs to work upon. Speaking about his prospect of making it into the Indian squad in near future, RP Singh, a former Indian pacer was in favor of speeding up his process and keeping him in close proximity with the national team. However, due to a lack of experience in domestic cricket and IPL, Umran has a long road ahead of him. While talking to Cricbuzz, RP Singh said “Umran Malik is surely an exciting talent. He should be kept with the team because then you can groom him while keeping the strength of your bench. You never know who will you need when. But playing him right away? I am not in favor of that because he hasn’t played much domestic and even in IPL, he has only just started to do well,”. 

On the other hand, Chris Lynn, while talking about Umran Malik, post his maiden 5 wicket haul against Gujarat Titans, he backed Malik’s seat in Indian Squad for the upcoming T20 World-cup. According to Lynn, Australian pitches are bouncy and someone like Umran Malik can truly capitalize on fast-bowler-friendly pitches. While talking during T20 Timeout Lynn said “I will factor the wickets are bouncy here in Australia and you need I suppose that youth and just that guys haven’t played against it. You keep going back to whom you drop because it is such a formidable [bowling] line-up but would love to see this guy in the World Cup. He’s going to take the world by storm if he does get a chance at the international level. It is lucky that I am not a selector for India.” 

Views might differ but one objective fact is very clear that with appropriate exposure and training Umran could be the next sensation in Indian cricket. In this season, Sunrisers Hyderabad is still in the race for play-offs and Umran will have an opportunity to show his skills with bowling. As in about Umran Making his place in the Indian cricket team, Bumrah would need some support and it would be worth watching this fan of Bumrah bowl along with him for India.

Shrikant Chitlangya

Lawyer by profession and a cricket enthusiast by heart. Presently living in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Loves to play cricket as wicket-keeper batsman, talk about cricket and write about cricket in his free time....

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