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IPL 2022: The Unheard Story Of India’s Fastest Bowler Umran Malik

Umran Malik is the fastest bowler in India at the moment.

Umran Malik burst onto the scene, in the eyes of the entire nation, querying everything possible about him, when the fast bowler made his IPL debut for Sunrisers Hyderabad last season, against Kolkata Knight Riders, and straightaway was clocking 150 KPH!

In his next game, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the 22-year-old bowled the fastest delivery (recorded) by an Indian in the IPL‘s history – the speedometer showing 152.95kph!

umran malik

Until the age of 17, Umran Malik hadn’t played with the red ball, had been having fun in gully cricket, tennis-ball tournaments in Jammu and Kashmir. Five years later, he was troubling the elegant Shubman Gill on his debut.

So where has Umran Malik come from? What’s his story?

In 2018, India’s under-19 selectors had gone to visit the Vaishno Devi Mandir. There they saw Malik bowling in the nets and were left stunned.

“They saw me bowling in nets on a cement wicket and asked, ‘Who are you? You are bowling so fast! Why are you not playing matches?'” Malik recalled while speaking to ESPNcricinfo.

The selectors then asked the J&K U-19 coach to give Malik a game; till then the pacer hadn’t made his debut in the Cooch Behar Trophy.

Umran Malik belongs to a humble family from Jammu’s Gujjar Nagar. His father, Abdul Rashid, is a fruit seller, and he lives with his mother and two older sisters.
“After playing in school during the day, he would leave the bag at home and go to play cricket in the evening as well,” Abdul Rashid said. “I used to tell him, ‘Play cricket but pay some attention to studies as well.’ I never refused to buy equipment or other things for him.”

As Umran Malik became a big name in tennis ball tournaments in the state – he had been given the nickname of “Ghajini”, from Aamir Khan’s movie for his short hair and physicality – he was suggested to bowl with the red ball.

UMRAN MALIK WAQAR Younis

Umran Malik went to the MA Stadium, where he met Randhir Singh Manhas, a local coach, and Ram Dayal, a senior J&K cricketer, who were both taken aback by Malik’s extreme pace. And then he got the crucial guidance of former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan, from which point his journey kicked off.

“He was a natural talent. Usually players with Cosco [tennis-ball] background are quick through the air. However, his jump and landing weren’t that perfect, so I worked with him on it. Later, when Irfan Pathan came here [as J&K mentor], he too helped him a bit,” Manhas told ESPNcricinfo.
Umran Malik then also became good friends with Abdul Samad, the hard-hitting finisher who also soon played for SRH; in fact, it was Samad who pushed SRH to rope in Malik as a net bowler in the 2020 season. There he surprised the likes of Kedar Jadhav and Jonny Bairstow, to such an extent that the Englishman had to ask him to bowl slowly.
Umran Malik was asked to continue as a net bowler in the 2021 IPL season. His opportunity to make an IPL debut came when T Natarajan was tested positive for covid-19. After SRH had been eliminated from the playoff race, they decided to unleash Malik. He clocked 150kph in his very first over.
umran malik unheard story
Image source: Twitter
“I thought I could bowl around 140-145kph max. I hadn’t checked my pace before playing in IPL,” he said. “Making my debut in the IPL and performing well in the first match was the most special moment of my life.”
Rest it has been only a climb for India’s fastest fast bowler; Umran Malik was also included as net bowler in India’s T20 World Cup campaign. Presently, Umran is playing in IPL 2022 and cricket fans across the world are watching him with a lot of excitement.

Jatin Khandelwal

Hi, I am Jatin Khandelwal. Cricket writing came accidentally for me with an undergrad engineering degree. With opportunities first as a freelancer and then full-time, and experience with time, I have grown in the role. The Cricket Lounge is a place where I can thrive with the best of my abilities.

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