Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) pace bowler, Umran Malik was the find of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022, and owing to his consistent performance, he received his maiden India call-up as well. The 22-year-old fast bowler from Jammu rattled even the best of batting attacks with his fiery pace and made headlines by clocking speeds of over 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour.
Umran Malik, who bowled the fastest delivery (156.9 kph) by an Indian in the tournament, ended up scalping 22 wickets in 14 matches. His performance helped him gather praises from former players including Hyderabad’s bowling coach Dale Steyn who said he was “blown away” by the youngster’s pace. Umran, who is nicknamed ‘Jammu Express’, attracted the selectors’ attention with his rapid speed and it ultimately led to his selection in top-flight cricket.
Former Australia speedster Brett Lee even compared Umran to legendary Waqar Younis, who was known for the art of reverse swing bowling. As per the quotes in ANI, Lee had said, “I am a big fan. I think Umran Malik has got a lot of pace to burn. He is a competitor, a top guy, who runs in like a lot of fast bowlers in the past. Waqar Younis is the person who comes to mind.”
But Umran Malik said he never followed the Pakistan great subconsciously and spoke about his ‘idols’ in the sport.
During a recent chat with Indian Express Idea Exchange, Umran Malik said, “I have not followed Waqar Younis. I have a natural action. My idols include (Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohammed) Shami, and Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) bhai. I used to follow them when I was playing while coming through the ranks.”
He further added, “There’s no point getting carried away. If it is destined to happen, it will Inshallah. I want to do my best for my country. I have got an opportunity in these five (T20I) matches (against South Africa). My goal will be that we win all five matches, I perform well and single-handedly win those games for India.”
Umran Malik is a part of India’s T20 contingent that will be locking horns with South Africa in the five-game T20I series, beginning June 9 at the Arun Jaitley Cricket Stadium in Delhi. He shared his IPL experience and the attention he’s been getting since his impressive spell in the competition.
The fiery pacer explained, “Firstly, I am really grateful for all the love and respect that I have been getting from all over India. Relatives and other people keep coming home, it feels very good. I have been a bit busy after the IPL, but have not missed training and practice.”