After some time, his phone started ringing. It was his son – Umran Malik, the fastest bowler in India currently and someone who has once again been taking the IPL by storm.
“Before Umran could say anything, I said -‘son you have made me proud today’,” a proud father told TimesofIndia.com in an exclusive interview.
During the match against Gujarat Titans, the SRH speed gun Umran, who has been breathing fire this season, bowled a fiery spell, claiming a a five-wicket haul, that almost scripted the sixth win for Sunrisers Hyderabad, but Rashid Khan and Rahul Tewatia played a magnificent role to deny SRH a win. Umran dismissed Wriddhiman Saha, Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya, David Miller and Abhinav Manohar to claim his maiden five-fer. Pandya-led side cruised to a five-wicket win against the Orange Army.
During the IPL match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Punjab Kings, Umran bowled the last over of the Punjab innings. Incredibly, he did not give away a single run in the over and took three wickets. Bowling in the death overs is the most difficult task for a bowler and fast bowler Umran has taken that challenge head on.
Incidentally, the 22-year-old became just the third bowler in the history of the IPL to not concede a single run in the 20th over of an innings. Irfan Pathan (for PBKS in 2008) and Jaydev Unadkat (for RPS in 2017) are the two other bowlers who have achieved this incredible feat in the past (they did this in the 20th over of the second innings). Sri Lanka pace legend Lasith Malinga (for MI in 2009) conceded 1 bye and 4 leg byes (counted as extras) in the 20th over of a match in the 2009 edition.
Fancying the 100m WR, Umran Malik? 😉⚡#JammuExpress #OrangeArmy #ReadyToRise #TATAIPL https://t.co/fiA4CbcUZU
— SunRisers Hyderabad (@SunRisers) 1650874147000
Umran has played 7 matches in the tournament so far and has bagged 10 wickets. Incredibly over 90% of his deliveries have been bowled at over 140 kmph.
“Umran has made me popular in the market and in fact in Jammu overall. Everyone greets me saying ‘adaab’ in the market. I am really proud of my son,” Rashid further told TimesofIndia.com from Jammu.
TimesofIndia.com spoke to Abdul Rashid on April 26.
FROM PLAYING WITH TENNIS BALLS TO BECOMING A LETHAL FAST BOWLER
India’s new speed gun Umran consistently bowls at 145- 150kph plus and is India’s fastest bowler currently.
Umran’s father Rashid further shared with TimesofIndia.com the journey of his son, who many feel should be fast tracked into the Indian team.
“Umran was adamant that he wanted to become a fast bowler. He used to run hard and do that for a long time. I knew he was determined. He used to practice at the Science College in Jammu with wet tennis balls. He used to take a long run up and bowl as fast as possible. He used to dip the tennis ball in water and then bowl,” Rashid said.
The #JammuExpress has zeroed in more glory. 💪Joint-most dot balls in an innings this season, and joint second-bes… https://t.co/Ohi9nIbcRy
— SunRisers Hyderabad (@SunRisers) 1650808208000
“Umran was famous and boys, from all corners of Jammu, would come over and take him along to play cricket. He won many prizes and trophies in local matches. He was famous because he was the fastest bowler. The kids would fight over who got to pick him in their teams. He had the ability to skittle out any team,” Abdul Rashid further told TimesofIndia.com.
“I tried to stop him some times. But he would really request me to let him go and play,”
Now, Rashid is a proud man and is enjoying being recognised as Umran Malik’s father.
“When people or tourists come and ask me – ‘are you Umran’s father’, I feel so great. I am proud that the world knows him now. I hope he continues to make his country proud,” Rashid further said.
Umran made his T20 debut in the 2021 edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, for Jammu and Kashmir. He made his List-A debut in the Vijay Hazare Trophy a month after that. He made his First Class debut for India A vs South Africa A in November last year.
Umran, who was spotted by the SRH scouts, was picked as one of three net bowlers for the 2016 champions last season in April. In September 2021 he was named as a short term Covid-19 replacement for T Natarajan. He played his first IPL match vs KKR in October last year. Though he is still very much a work in progress, Umran impressed everyone with his raw pace.
SRH were so impressed with his abilities to bowl fast, they retained him ahead of the last player auction for Rs 4 Crore. This season, Umran has been at his fastest best. He has won 7 straight fastest delivery of the match awards. Understandably his family back in Jammu is very proud.
“Everyone loves him (Umran) in the family. His sisters love him so much. When I was against him playing cricket, his sisters would support him,” his father, Abdul Rashid, shared with TimesofIndia.com.
IRFAN PATHAN’S ROLE IN UMRAN’S STEADY RISE
Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder Abdul Samad (also retained by SRH) introduced Umran to former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan in 2019. Irfan had joined the Jammu and Kashmir cricket team as coach-cum-mentor.
Impressed by his speed in the nets, Irfan had a long chat with Umran. Irfan knew the youngster had raw speed but he needed proper guidance.
“I am really thankful to Abdul (Samad) who took him to Irfan (Pathan) sir. Irfan sir has played a big role. He is the one who gave him wings,” Rashid further said.
“I remember Irfan sir’s words. He said Umran’s bowling action looks similar to that of Waqar Younis (former Pakistan cricketer and coach). He said Umran has a bright future and all he needs is a platform to showcase his talent. And he (Irfan) began guiding Umran,” Rashid further told TimesofIndia.com.
ADVICE FROM DHONI AND VIRAT
India legends MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli had separate conversations with Umran after their team’s matches and gave him some advice.
“Umran discussed some of those things with me. MS Dhoni is a legend of the game. Virat Kohli is also a great cricketer. Umran met both of them. They have told Umran that he is the future of Indian cricket. When Umran called me to share this with me, he was extremely happy. He was elated after listening to those golden words from the two legends of the game,” a proud father recalled.
‘WANT TO SEE HIM PLAY FOR INDIA IN THE WORLD CUP‘
Rashid has been enjoying his son’s spectacular show in the IPL and now he wants to see Umran in an India jersey.
Umran was included as a net bowler to assist Team India in their preparations for the T20 World Cup in 2021.
“My only dream now is to see my son in an Indian team jersey. I want him to play in the World Cup some day. I am sure he will. He has reached this level and I am confident he will get there very soon. He will make the entire country proud,” Rashid signed off.