Ever since Umran Malik belted that 157 clicks delivery in IPL 2022, the entire nation has been talking about him. Well, its quite obvious, because that would be the fastest delivery bowled by an Indian which will be officially recorded in cricketing history.
Despite a dearth of documented records, former Zimbabwean opener, Alistair Campbell had to say that Javagal Srinath had once bowled 157 clicks to him which was 10 kays more than the officially recorded fastest bowler of that time, the White Lightning, Alan Donald.
Now if there is one thing that has been frequent since last night are the comparisons between Umran Malik and Javagal Srinath. Being very honest, this is downright destructive for the youngster who is still to master the basics of being a successful fast bowler, an art that was being revolutionized by Srinath for India.
There are two phases of Srinath’s international career. One was prior to his injury where he would breathe fire and pace was everything that he had. He was definitely successful in those times but there were mishaps too. The biggest of them all was when he ended up injuring his rotor blade, the most important part of a fast bowler.
Doctors said that he will have to bid adieu to fast bowling, maybe the sport too. However, the towering expressman from Karnataka would return in an even more menacing avatar as he would totally let go of his pace and focus more on swing and movement that would eventually bring out the best in him where he would leave the batters terrorized with his menacing movement and some accurate line and length.
He would eventually end up as one of the most important weapons for India in their 2003 World Cup campaign that would see the nation reaching the finals.
Now coming to the comparison with Umran Malik, it feels absolutely fabulous to witness this youngster belting such reckless pace. If nurtured properly he would go onto to be one of the most successful bowlers in the history of fast-bowling.
However, there are two major things here at play. Firstly, he has been helluva expensive with an economy rate of almost 8.6. Secondly, the Indian audience is pushing him too much to the roof by applauding his pace where complacency can actually put a stopper in his growth.
In fact, Umran Malik has even said that his aim is to bowl 160 clicks someday which is absolutely grand but the ideal aim of any form of bowlers should be to claim wickets or probably produce the deadliest deliveries instead of whipping out 155, 156 and getting them belted to the ropes.
Gone are the days when the protection gear used to be scarce and the Caribbean bowlers would run amok. Now it is all about precision, line and length and knowing how to package your deliveries. Accepting the brilliance stitched by Umran Malik, it is an obvious answer that he is no where close to what Srinath was in his early days.
More importantly, he needs to channel his pace instead of just leaving it raw. When you are only made of pace, with the current brand of batters in the market, they will smack you for the maximum runs. The same fans who are blindly applauding Umran for his speed will be the ones to pelt him with anti-national chants and useless.
Umran Malik will have to close his ears to the world and work relentlessly on his craft. He is an extremely special bowler and if he is nurtured in the best of ways, India will be having the most menacing fast-bowling quartet ever seen in history that would comprise, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj and Umran Malik. We have savoured Srinath, now let Umran be Umran and not a second Srinath.