It has been a mercurial rise for Jammu and Kashmir pacer Umran Malik since October this year. The 21-year-old youngster, who made heads turn for clocking speeds in excess of 150kph in the IPL 2021 for his team Sunrisers Hyderabad, was rewarded with a stint as a net bowler with the Indian team in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
Malik’s impressive run has now extended into a call-up to the India ‘A’ team for the four-day series against South Africa ‘A’.
The quick rise in Malik’s fortunes has left his father Abdul Rashid delighted. “He used to say to me, ‘Papa, I want to play for India’. Our wishes have always been with him. We pray to God that our child plays for India one day. Now that his name has come into India ‘A’ squad, I hope in the future his name comes into the India squad and makes the nation proud. We tell everyone ‘He is not our child; he is the child of the nation’. Our only wish now is to see him play well and bring glory to the country,” said Rashid in a chat over the phone on Friday.
“We are really happy. The whole of Jammu and Kashmir and India is happy for this kid. The whole country has been praising him. We have been extremely delighted along with the whole nation as he has bowled very well,” added Rashid.
From being a net bowler for the Hyderabad franchise in the IPL, Malik was drafted into the main squad as left-arm pacer T Natarajan tested positive for Covid-19. As he showcased his raw pace in the IPL, he quickly caught the eye of many fans and cricketers, including Indian skipper Virat Kohli.
Rashid attributes his son’s pace to God-gifted energy and endurance, which is seen in Malik registering his name in the top ten fastest deliveries of IPL 2021, with the highest being 152.95 kph (at second place). “He has got natural strength and did not learn from anywhere. He used to go and practise in the cricket academy as well as in the college. God has given him the strength to bowl well. He has played really well till now.”