Teams Played For
Jammu and Kashmir, Sunrisers Hyderabad, India A
Umran Malik has been another inspiring story produced during the Indian Premier League. A smearing talent, Malik is an emerging speedster from the valley of Kashmir. He is the fourth cricketer from Jammu & Kashmir but is not just another player. His USP, you ask, is to haunt batters with clicking over (yes, over) 150 kmph consistently.
Touted as the fastest man in India, Malik was just one List-A and one T20 game old, before debuting in the big-money league called Indian Premier League. His journey was never an easy tale.
Hailing from a modest family from Gujjar Nagar, Malik is a son of a fruit seller who initially started playing tennis-ball cricket, before taking the hard ball cricket at 17. He always had a raw pace, and used to clock around 135-140 ks, but had his issues with landing and runup. These issues were solved when ex Indian cricketer, Irfan Pathan came into the picture as a J&K mentor.
At 18, the speedster was just another pacer in Jammu & Kashmir Under-19 squad for the Cooch Behar Trophy, when he stunned India's U19 selectors even without playing a single U-19 game. The selectors saw Malik bowling, bowling fast, on a cement pitch and advised the J&K coach to give the upcoming pacer a go.
Initially, Malik used to get limited chances for his state team and was rejected various times. And this was when his best mate, Abdul Samad came around. Samad, an already seasoned campaigner and an IPL player, spread a word about Malik’s prowess and sheer talent and even suggested his name to Sunrisers Hyderabad as a net bowler.
Malik showcased his smearing talent against the likes of Jonny Bairstow and Kedar Jadhav with his terrorising pace. In September 2021, during the second leg of IPL, he found himself included in the Sunrisers team as a short-term replacement for T Natarajan, who had tested positive for Covid-19 in Dubai.
Once Sunrisers had lost the race to the playoffs, they provided Malik with an opportunity in the playing XI, against Kolkata Knight Riders. And he didn’t take any time to become a renowned name. In his first game, he touched 150 clicks several times. In his second match, he bowled the fastest delivery by an Indian in the tournament's history - 152.95kph.
In October that year, Malik was included in the Indian team as a net bowler for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021. The following year, the speedster got his maiden India A call-up for the tour of South Africa.
There’s no doubt about Malik’s sheer talent and prowess, as he already terrorised the best batters in the business. The up-and-coming pacer just needs nurturing and some backing, before he joins the world-class India pace attack.
(As of November 2021)