Umran Malik is an Indian fast bowler who competes in domestic-level competitions. On 22 September 2021, he joined Sunrisers Hyderabad’s squad as a short-term replacement for Thangarasu Natarajan. Natarajan was diagnosed with COVID-19 before the game against Delhi Capitals.
Umran Malik was born on Monday, 22 November 1999 (age 22 years; as of 2021) in Jammu & Kashmir. His zodiac sign is Scorpio. Being a class-tenth dropout, he started playing cricket at the age of 17 at the Jammu & Kashmir Sports Council in Srinagar. Sportstar He was spotted by the head coach of that academy, Randhir Singh Minhas (nicknamed as ‘Rajan Sir’ by his students). His approach to this sport was casual during his early days. It was until Randhir scolded him and told him to focus on the game. Soon, he started playing U-19 cricket and then went on to represent Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on 3 October 2021 after playing several games at the domestic level.
Height (approx.): 5′ 9″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His father runs a fruit shop in Jammu. He has two elder sisters.
- Fastest delivery by an Indian in an IPL history (152.95 kmph).
- The only Indian to clock 151kmph more than twice in a single match of IPL.
- The fourth cricketer from Jammu & Kashmir to play in the IPL after Parvez Rasool, Rasikh Salam, and Abdul Samad.
- Third pacer to clock 151 kmph speed in IPL 2021 after Lockie Ferguson and Anrich Nortje.
The first time he started playing professional cricket was in 2017, when he represented Jammu & Kashmir at the U-19 level. Unfortunately, he couldn’t feature in the playing eleven at that time. His coach expressed his regret by saying that
“They did not give him a longer rope. So, he was disappointed, but then, for us, the challenge was to make sure that he did not lose the plot.”
One day, while he was practicing in the nets, he caught the eyes of the then coach of the Assam team and the former Indian wicketkeeper Ajay Ratra who found his bowling quite impressive. He inquired about him with the team officials and his coach that why is he not playing in the domestic-level competitions. Randhir had no answer. But soon he got selected in the Jammu & Kashmir’s squad for a match against the Railways team in a T20 game in the Syed Mushtaq Trophy on 18 January 2021.
Parvez Rasool was his team’s captain. After winning the toss, he opted to bowl first looking at the greener wicket at the Alur Cricket Ground (Bengaluru). Railway had a decent start with 104 runs for the loss of one wicket. In the 14th over, Umran dismissed their captain Karn Sharma clean bowled. Three balls later, he got his second wicket in a form of Mrunal Devdhar caught. A few overs later, he took another wicket in the 16th over. Thus, completing his spell of 24 runs for three wickets in his spell of four overs with an economy of six an over. After the match, Parvez Rasool, who also played two international games for India remarked,
“He is a genuine good talent, who has the potential to go far. In the nets, he would often hit the batters on the helmet. With time, he will certainly improve further.”
Irfan Pathan was his team’s mentor when Umran played this game. His coach Randhir said,
“Irfan being a top-level fast bowler, he saw potential in Umran and they started mentoring the young cricketers and that boosted his confidence.”
Pathan is the first person who started nurturing this talent at a higher level. He along with the team’s head coach Milap Mewada wanted to give him maximum time in order to prepare him for the upcoming tournaments. But as the protest took place in Kashmir against the implementation of Article 370 in their region, the state was under a curfew. Due to this, the entire training camp was discontinued till further order, and players were sent back to their homes. Then the CEO of JKCA Syed Ashiq Bukhari took the charge of bringing the players to the training camp. He instructed the district police to personally go to every player’s home and bring them safely to the camp. Few months after reaching the camp, Umran played his first 50-overs list-A match against the Bengal team on 22 February 2021 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy held at the Videocon Academy Ground in Kolkata. He couldn’t bowl as per expectation and conceded 98 runs in ten overs with an economy of 9.8. Though, he managed to scalp one wicket. Jammu lost the game by 82 runs. Soon, after getting selected in the IPL 2021 as a net bowler, he was seen troubling their star batter David Warner with his raw pace, to which Pathan later said,
“He is still a work in progress and he still needs to play a fair amount of domestic cricket to get better. But he is a genuine talent and has the potential.”
He then played his first IPL game against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Dubai International Stadium in UAE. He was picked ahead of the injured Sandeep Sharma. His team scored 115 runs after batting first. In reply, Kolkata was at one stage 11 for no loss when Umar get to bowl his first over of the Indian Premier League. He troubled their batters Shubhman Gill and Nitish Rana with his bouncers and bowled with more than 145kmph average speed. Though, he gave nine runs in that over. Then in the second over, he was more effective, and consequently, his four overs went for 27 runs. Though he couldn’t scalp any wicket but his pace and accuracy impressed everyone.
Former Zimbabwean cricket commentator Pommie Mbangwa remarked,
“Where has this guy been.”
While Harsha Bhogle, the famous commentator tweeted,
“Good to see a young man like Umran Malik with some serious pace about him.”
While the former Indian bowler Vinay Kumar said,
“Delighted to watch a youngster bowling with such a great pace. His future looks very bright.”
Even former Indian Test cricketer and the ongoing commentator Akash Chopra tweeted,
“Umran Malik…impressive first over and has already bowled the fastest ball by an Indian in IPL 2021.”
- He plays with the jersey number ’24’ in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
- After his debut IPL match on 3 October 2021 where Umran clocked more than 150kmph speed, his team’s captain and star batter Kane Williamson remarked,
“He is a special talent. I suppose one of the silver linings of being where we are, is certainly not desirable, but we have been able to expose a no. of younger players and as we are saying, the talents certainly in India is a mean. There are so many young guys ready to go and get some experience and that will be so much better for their careers. Yeah, Umran is something special and great that he was able to get a run tonight, a fantastic opportunity for him.”
- During an interview, his coach revealed,
“Initially, he was not quite serious about the game. He would turn up one day and then disappear for three days. And again, after a week or so, you would see him bowling at the nets. He had a passion for the game, but did not take things seriously.”
His coach later termed Umran as a raw talent but needed more guidance.
“Umar would clock 145-plus at the nets and we knew that if he is mentored properly, he can go far.”
- He used to play with a tennis ball in his childhood, from where he learned the art of pace bowling. Coming from a lower-middle-class background, it was difficult for his father to fulfill all his basic needs. Still, he motivated him to play cricket at the highest level. His coach further revealed
“He is a class X drop out and all he did was just play cricket. He has elder sisters and he is the only son in the family, so they were very supportive and that helped him play freely.”
- Pathan recalls that time when Umran first came to the J&K state sports council academy in Srinagar where he was a mentor. He said,
“What struck me was his pace, but back then, he would jump out a lot. So, we had to work a bit on his bowling action. That helped him gain control and it benefitted his bowling.”Since Pathan and their head coach Milap Mewada wanted to nurture this talent. But when the protest took place there due to the rising demand for the abolition of Article 370 in 2019, his training got disrupted and all the players were sent back home including Umran. Pathan later told that“Umran was one of the young prospects and our aim was to work with him in the camp and prepare him for the Ranji Trophy. But that did not happen. But all credit to him, he has worked really hard over the last few months and has been very impressive in the nets.”