Umran Malik has taken the Indian Premier League (IPL) by storm since coming on as a replacement for T Natarajan in the closing stages of the 2021 edition in UAE. The raw talent from Jammu and Kashmir was a net bowler at SRH before being drafted into the side. Umran had played one List A match before making his SRH debut, giving away 98 runs from his 10 overs and claiming a wicket. The match was against Bengal in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
He had played one T20 match as well, picking up 3/24 at an economy rate of just six. The T20 match was against Railways in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
He ended up playing three games for SRH and impressed one and all.
Quick to impress
Come IPL 2021, Umran surprised everyone with his raw pace and tenacity. He claimed two wickets in three games in IPL 2021 at an economy rate of 8.00. Interestingly, Umran clocked the second-fastest ball of IPL 2021 at 152.95 KM/H. He was only behind Lockie Ferguson, who clocked 153.63 KM/H for KKR. The stage was set for Umran, who was the fastest Indian. Ahead of the IPL 2022 auction, SRH backed Umran by retaining him for Rs. 14 crore. He is a talent they believe will be a vital asset in years to come.
In the IPL 2022 season, Umran has already delivered the fastest ball of the tournament (153 KM/H). This season, the rising talent has claimed three wickets from four games, averaging 48.67. He has an economy rate of 10.43.
A talented cricketer
What we have witnessed so far is that Umran Malik is someone who has great character. He is not afraid to bowl consistently at a frantic pace. His deliveries have what it takes to trump any batters in world cricket. Yes, Umran is costly and a bit inconsistent with his offerings, giving away runs over 10 this season, but with the pace, he has got, these things will sort out.
Seeing his talent and pace, Umran was included in India A squad to face South Africa A in November 2021. He produced figures worth 1/90 from 21 overs. After that, he also played for J&K in the Range Trophy. In FC cricket, Malik has seven wickets from 3 games at 41.28. However, he has an economy rate of close to five. This is something the bowler will look to rectify as he gains more game time.
Why is exposure so valuable?
Like former England, skipper Michael Vaughan mentioned recently that the BCCI should be allowing Umran to play some County cricket to help him develop his games. “Umran Malik will play for India very soon….. If I was the @BCCI, I would be sending him to play some County cricket this summer to help him develop first, though,” the former England batter wrote on his Twitter account.
This is true. The conditions in England will help a bowler like Umran. He can understand himself more, and swinging the ball with that deadly pace will make life difficult. There are several County sides who will be interested in grooming a player like Umran. Also, rubbing the shoulders alongside premier English domestic bowlers will be of massive help for the youngster.
Over the years, several Indian cricketers have gone to England and played County cricket. Players like Hanuma Vihari, C Pujara, Ishant Sharma, and R Ashwin got the desired help, and their game improved.
Why does Umran have a promising future for Team India?
Umran is the fastest pacer in the Indian ranks at the moment. He is way above the rest of the pack when it comes to being fast. So if Umran is helped in terms of control and being consistent in the good length areas, he can be a primary asset in the near future. The BCCI and Indian team management should use Umran more prominently in Test cricket. He can be a real deal bowling alongside Md Shami and Jasprit Bumrah in SENA nations. That’s where Umran can really learn to bowl plenty of overs.
India will also have a variety in attack. India’s pace unit is strong and versatile, and Umran just adds more dimension. If he does well in the longest format, the passage to limited-overs cricket will be easier. Umran should get the backing of the management, and experience is something that will help him rapidly as time progresses. For now, he will need to focus on the IPL 2022 season.