Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) fast bowler Umran Malik has taken the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 by storm. His raw pace coupled with excellent control has impressed cricket pundits and fans alike. On his IPL 2021 debut against Kolkata Knight Riders, he constantly hit the 150 kph mark and troubled the batters. Even though he went wicketless, the Jammu and Kashmir cricketer conceded only 27 runs in his four overs.
He played a major hand in SRH’s shock upset over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in match number 52 of IPL 2021 in Abu Dhabi. Not only did he claim his maiden IPL wicket and finish with impressive figures of 1 for 21, he also bowled the fastest ball in the tournament in this year’s edition (so far), clocking 153 kph. With Malik having announced himself with a bang on the IPL stage, we tell you five interesting facts about him.
1. Umran Malik has played only one List A game and three T20s
Born in Jammu and Kashmir in November 1999, Malik has featured in only one List A clash and three T20s so far. His List A debut was against Bengal in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in February this year. It was not a memorable debut as he went for 98 runs while claiming just one wicket in his 10 overs. Bengal went on to win the contest by 82 runs. Malik’s T20 debut was a lot more memorable. He claimed 3 for 24 against Railways. His victims included opposition skipper Karn Sharma. Thanks to the fast bowler’s heroics, J&K won the contest by seven wickets.
2. Malik is the fourth player from J&K to play in the IPL
The 21-year-old tearaway pacer is only the fourth player from J&K to feature in the IPL. Before him, Parvez Rasool, Rasikh Salam and Abdul Samad featured from Jammu and Kashmir in the IPL. Samad is in fact Malik’s teammate at SRH and is said to be a very good friend of the fast bowler. Rasool has been part of Pune, RCB and SRH in the IPL but ended up playing only 11 games. Rasikh played for MI in 2019 before being banned by BCCI for two years for age fraud.
3. Malik played tennis ball matches on hire for Rs 500 or 1000
In his early years, he used to play tennis ball matches for Rs 500 or Rs 1000. Rasool, who has played a couple of matches for India, revealed to PTI that during his initial years, Malik did not have formal coaching. It was only after joining the coaching camp of District Sports Council that his mentoring began. According to Rasool, playing tennis ball cricket has helped Malik’s game as the light weight of the tennis ball means that to generate pace, you need to put in the extra effort.
4. He was not serious about the sport till 3-4 years back
According to reports, Malik was not serious about the game till a few years back. According to Randhir Singh Manhas, a coach at the Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council, the fast bowler took things very lightly in his initial days. Manhas revealed to Sportstar that he would turn up one day and then not come for three days. And again, after a week or so, you would see him bowling at the nets. The coach, however, admitted that he was blessed with the ability to bowl at a raw pace even back then.
5. Malik is a class X drop out
India’s latest pace sensation doesn’t come from an affluent family. He is a class X drop out and his father runs a fruit shop. He has elder sisters and he is the only son in the family, who encouraged him to play freely. Former India wicketkeeper Ajay Ratra was highly impressed with Malik when he saw the latter at the nets. Malik was one of the net bowlers back then and Ratra wondered why he wasn’t playing for Jammu and Kashmir.