SRH pacer Umran Malik a product of tennis-ball cricket, had no formal coaching in initial years: J&K captain Parvez Rasool

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Oct 05, 2021, 04:43 PM IST

Umran Malik Photograph:(Others)

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Jammu and Kashmir cricket team captain Parvez Rasool praised young pacer Umran Malik after his impressive debut for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2021 on Sunday.

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) pacer Umran Malik impressed with his raw pace on his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Sunday. The 21-year-old right-arm pacer left many in awe of his speed when he clocked 151.03 kmph (93.84 mph) in his very first over and set the record for the fastest delivery bowled by an Indian pacer in IPL 2021 so far.

Hailing from Jammu and Kashmir, Malik was assisting the Sunrisers Hyderabad batsmen as a net bowler in training before he was roped in full-time as a replacement for left-arm speedster T Natarajan, who was ruled out due to COVID-19. Malik earned his maiden cap for SRH against KRK and bowled at a good pace consistently.

Speaking about his rise and the secret behind his sheer pace, Parvez Rasool, the captain of the Jammu and Kashmir cricket team said playing tennis ball cricket helped the 21-year-old massively in improving as a bowler. Rasool said Malik was always fast but the way he bowled on his debut was a performance of another level.

“He is a very talented boy. When I played him in the nets, he was quick. Woh bahot teekha thaa (he was pretty fast) but this was at a different level," Rasool was quoted as saying by PTI.

“He was literally hurrying the batters with sheer pace. I was very proud to see him hold his own at such a big stage,” he added.

Rasool revealed Malik did not receive any kind of formal coaching during his initial days and that playing tennis ball cricket helped him enhance his pace. Malik did not manage to get a wicket on his debut for SRH but finished with impressive figures of 27/0 in his four overs as SRH lost the game by six wickets, failing to defend a low-key total of 115 runs.

“I don’t think in his initial years, he had formal coaching before joining the coaching camp of District Sports Council. He used to play a lot of tennis ball matches on hire for Rs 500 or 1000. If you look at some of our best fast bowlers including Jasprit (Bumrah), they have all been tennis ball cricket products," said Rasool.

“The light weight of the tennis ball means that to generate pace, you need that extra effort. This kid developed strength and pace by playing tennis ball games that he would play in and around Jammu," he added.

SRH are already out of the race for playoffs in IPL 2021 but will be hoping to finish on a high with victories in their remaining two matches. Kane Williamson & Co. will face RCB and Mumbai Indians in their final two league games of the season.