New Delhi, In the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), young Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer Umran Malik has been one of the standout stars, bowling the fastest deliveries with his raw pace and earning praise from all quarters, with some experts calling for him to be fast-tracked into the India men’s side.
In his second season of featuring in the IPL after making heads turn in the second half of the 2021 edition, Malik has taken 15 wickets in his first eight matches, including an enthralling 5/25 against Gujarat Titans. But in his last three matches, the 22-year-old has gone wicketless.
His father, Abdul Rashid Malik, believes that IPL 2022 is a part of a learning curve for Umran to be a better player, with a hope to turn out for the national side in future.
“Our kid is getting to learn a lot. We want him to work harder in future, learn many more things to play very well. In the coming time, we hope he plays for India and performs well,” said Rashid in a chat with IANS.
Though Hyderabad lost that match to Gujarat, Malik made the world sit up and take notice of his bowling yet again by ratting the stumps of Wriddhiman Saha, Shubman Gill, David Miller and Abhinav Manohar apart from dismissing Hardik Pandya with a short ball.
Watching Umran bowl a searing spell in Jammu, Rashid recalled that the environment around their home looked as if Eid had arrived early.
“Our Eid was celebrated that day. Isse zyada khushi ki baat aur kya ho sakti hai (Couldn’t have been a happier moment for us). Everyone in our neighbourhood was happy, whole of India was rejoicing that our child was doing great. We just hope that he plays for the country in future and makes the nation proud.”
Rashid attributes his son’s pace and stamina to inclination towards the game from childhood, including bowling for long hours in the searing heat of Jammu. “The (sandy) soil here (near his house) has made him reach where he is today. Playing on this soil has made him the bowler he is currently. From childhood, he had interest in playing cricket and bowling fast. He had a lot of stamina. From starting only, he used to say that I will play cricket.
“In Jammu, he used to go to play tournaments from morning till evening. We used to tell him not to play much under the sun, ‘you will fall ill and your face will turn black’. He used to say, ‘Papa, I have to see my life, not my face. I play cricket only, don’t do any other work.’ I thought, let’s support him and people would say that your child plays very well, he delivers balls so well.”
Rashid revealed that he and Umran’s mother have chats with their son whenever he has free time and feels blessed over experienced Indian cricketers as well as Hyderabad’s pace bowling coach Dale Steyn having chats and sharing cricketing knowledge with his son during IPL 2022.
“Our duaa (prayer) right now is that he does well and takes a lot of lessons in IPL alongside big cricketers. Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni have praised him a lot and he is getting to learn a lot from them. Dhoni and (Jasprit) Bumrah make him understand a lot of things. He is getting a lot of support from all the big players for India.
“He is getting to learn a lot from one of the proven pacers in the world (Steyn, the former South Africa pacer). If he soaks in all the lessons, he will put in even more hard work and will go far. We just say that he should work harder because one reaches great heights with hard work.”
At his fruit and vegetable stall, Rashid gets noticed by a lot of people sending him congratulatory messages, including young children. “There are little boys who pass along and say ‘Look, that is Umran’s papa.’ For us, it is the proudest moment. People here are so happy and stop their cars to give their congratulatory messages.”