The 21-year-old Sunrisers bowler turned heads with his tearaway speed in IPL 2021
Umran Malik, who turned his head around with his pace of speed in IPL 2021, has been asked to stay back in the UAE as a net bowler for India’s team for the T20 World Cup, ESPNcricinfo has learned.
Umran had played just one A-list match and one T20 for Jammu and Kashmir before the IPL, and was initially recruited as a net bowler for Sunrisers Hyderabad for this season. He was drafted into the main squad when T Natarajan was ruled out due to Covid-19, and made an immediate impact in his first match, going over 150kph at times.
In his second match, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, he helped pull off a win of four runs and clocked 153kph – the fastest ball of IPL 2021 to date.
That prompted Virat Kohli to say after the game that Umran needed to be looked after, to make sure India could get the most out of it.
“This tournament throws talent every year,” Kohli said in the presentation. “It’s good to see a man bowling at 150 clicks. It’s important to understand individuals’ progress from now on, how to maintain your body and how you can get the most out of them. The pool of fast bowlers that strong is always going to be a good thing for Indian cricket, whenever you see talent like this, obviously you’re going to get your eyes on them and make sure you do the best of their potential. “
The 21-year-old player impressed Kohli enough to win a call up as a net bowler with the India team.
Umran’s IPL campaign ended with Sunrisers’ high-scoring loss against Mumbai Indians, and although he went for runs in the game along with all bowlers, his speed made a significant impact, getting a stunning Ishan Kishan out for 84 off 32 , and pinging Suryakumar Yadav just as flowing (82 off 40) on the helmet.
Umran’s pace could be a significant factor for India’s preparations for the T20 World Cup, with the team drawn in the same group as Pakistan and New Zealand. Both sides have fast bowlers, both Shaheen Shah Afridi and Lockie Ferguson. India opened their T20 World Cup campaign with a match against Pakistan on October 24.