Hyderabad: Umran Malik's cricketing journey has started at the speed of his thunderbolt. The 21-year-Jammu speedster was hired by the Sunrisers as a net bowler but T. Natarajan was ruled out Covid-19. It paved the way for his entry into the IPL squad.
At 150 kph deliveries he proved to be the fastest bowler in the 2021 IPL season and though his Sunrisers team could not advance, the Indian cricket board has drafted him into the World Cup squad as a net bowler.
"Just two days ago Umran was scheduled to return home from the UAE, where Sunrisers Hyderabad finished all its group matches and on the same night we got a call from him, conveying good news that he has been retained", his father Abdul Rasheed, who is a fruit seller in Jammu said exclusively over the telephone.
At an early age, he started playing cricket with the ball. He has a big name in tennis ball cricket in Jammu. He was unaware of professional cricket till 2018 when he gave trials for U-19 and he got selected after that he played under -19 days and then he played few matches of U-23 and after that in 2021 he made his debut in Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy and he also played one match of Vijay Hazare trophy.
"In his early days he was not serious about playing professional cricket with a hard ball. He used to skip his hard ball practice to play tennis cricket but his coach Mr Randheer Singh Manhas (Rajan Sir) advised him one day and told him that you’re going to be a big name in cricket if you just focus on hard ball cricket. You will get adjusted to it if you take this game seriously".
"When Irfan Pathan came as a mentor for J&K, he gave him some important tips. He made his action look better and after that he became more serious. When Abdul Samad joined the IPL team he got many useful tips from him also, so it’s all in front of you what he is doing today"
"Second leg of the IPL in the UAE brought luck. On his debut, he bowled the fastest ball by an Indian. He made his debut against KKR where he showed his commitment", father adds.
Disclosing the reason for being able to bowl at this speed, one of the two sisters, Shehzad says, "He is very cautious about his diet. Our mother Seema Begum (housewife) takes care of his food habits. Umran does not eat sweets".
"My only brother is fond of singing Punjabi songs", she adds.
"He also prefers to go on a long drive in our I-20 car which he bought sometime back".
"We are a middle-class family and don't prefer to live in the limelight", Shehzad, who is a teacher in the private school in Jammu concluded.