IPLIPL 2022Opinion

IPL 2022: An Open Letter To ‘Speedster’ Umran Malik

Umran Malik is the fastest bowler in India.

Dear Umran Malik,

Your raw pace has been an absolute menace for the batters. India has very rarely seen bowlers who could regularly rack up speeds of 150 plus clicks and being candid, it is of utmost importance to harness your raw talent because it can be of a significant potential impact on the fabric of international cricket.

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Umran Malik, you have been one such sensation in the ranks of IPL. Ever since your inception in the precursor edition of the tournament, the entire nation has been awed by your extraordinary numbers on the speedometer. The speed gun has often been troubled with your brutal speed that would often click 153 plus kays.

umran malik

However, it is important for a bowler to know his line while racking such monstrous speeds because without discipline it is difficult for a fast bowler to sustain his threat. The batters can actually use the pace and glide it to gaps, nullifying your speed factor. So far, Sunrisers Hyderabad has lacked the sting of ascendancy in the tournament as their struggles in the IPL continue. With all said and done, you have been a ray of sunshine in an otherwise clouded firmament.

Even though you have been whacked around to all corners of the park, yet you have shown promise. However, let this early fame not carry you already to the unwanted gates of hatred.

India is a cricket-crazy nation and here the sport is celebrated more fervently than a religion. As you know that religions are based on beliefs, so is cricket. The same fans who would carry you on their shoulders will not take a single second to flip.

The same mouths that heaped praises on you will be scorching you with the unwanted fire of hatred. That is how strong the game runs in the Indians. You are fairly new to the circuit and have a long way to go.

However, it is extremely important that a fast bowler knows about the varying aspects of the art of bowling instead of just racking up insane numbers on the speed-o-meter that would probably get you a few pats on the back but will never fetch you the greatness that you are born for.

The first and foremost thing that pacers are worried about is their longevity in the game. It is not easy to be a fast bowler and carry on in the cricketing circuit for 10-15 years at a canter. Very few have made the cut and for that to happen, they had to make countless alterations as only the ones who know how to adapt survive.

I am pretty sure, Umran Malik that you must have heard of the Wild Thing called Shaun Tait. He probably recorded the fastest ball in the history of cricket to be bowled. Sadly, for the Australian quick, it was nothing but disappearance into the wild as injuries took over.

umran malik ipl 2022

Very few fast bowlers have survived the gruelling demands of the game but even they had to learn the art of channeling their energy. Currently, you have one of the world’s former leading fast bowlers at the helm of affairs and no one can be a better mentor than the Steyn Gun.

A man who could even make a square drift at insane speeds was a gift to the game. You, Umran Malik, will need to get the best out of the relationship.

He can teach you the art of varying your pace and being much more disciplined when it comes to hitting the right spots. Every batter had a different vulnerability and it is crucial that you vary your deliveries accordingly.

For some, it is the short ball that bothers while others are not okay with playing the good length deliveries. You need to be creative and you need to know what should be the ideal spot to leave your counterpart guessing.

An important role for a fast bowler is to take care of the slog overs. To be at your scintillating best, you need to jumble up your speeds and try and change the lines frequently. With the fastest delivery of 154 and the slowest of 140, the batter would know that all he needs to do is connect. He wouldn’t have to think much about how to navigate you.

This is exactly where Dale Steyn’s expertise comes in. The amount of pace that you have, even if you lose a good 7-10 km, you are still faster than most of the pacers in the world. However, that cut back on your pace will allow you to impart seam to your weapons and a ball drifting at 145 plus clicks is nothing but a treat for all the bowling fans of the world.

umran malik ipl

However, just because the numbers haven’t been in your favour doesn’t mean that you have been ordinary. You actually have been extraordinary and that is exactly why you need to try harder.

It is okay to be good but to be the best, it needs a lot more than just pace. Being an ardent fan of fast bowlers, this is all I can tell you, Umran Malik: “This world is yours for the taking. Do not let the blurry lines on the side make you blindered. At times it is okay to see the world a bit clearer with lesser pace but with greater threat through the lens of a fast bowler.”

Yours sincerely,

A crazy cricket fan

Rony

An ardent sports lover with an inclination towards story-telling and blessed with a bloated penchant for words.

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