India have produced an array of fast bowlers, over the years, who have breached the 150kmph mark. For instance: Javagal Srinath (157 kmph) during the South Africa tour in 1996-97, Jasprit Bumrah (153.26) at Adelaide 2018, Mohammed Shami (153.2) at MCG 2014, Navdeep Saini (152.6) in the Indian Premier League and Ishant Sharma (152.6) at the 2008 CB Series.
And Umran Malik, the 21-year-old speedster from Srinagar, is carrying the baton forward. The SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) pacer has hogged the limelight for consistently hitting the 150kmph mark in his debut season in the IPL. But on Wednesday, he even made India captain Virat Kohli take notice, with the fastest delivery of IPL 2021 tracked at 153kmph.
“This tournament throws up talent every year, good to see a guy bowling at 150 clicks. It is important to know the progress of individuals going forward. Whenever you see talent like this, you need to nurture them,” Kohli said of Malik after the match.
It becomes the need of the hour, to bubble wrap Malik, who has already picked up some valuable lessons from the former Indian fast bowler and Jammu and Kashmir team coach-cum-mentor Irfan Pathan as he is not only fast but can bowl economical spells besides the knack of picking up wickets. He is a complete package and can turn out to be a nightmare for any batsman, if properly groomed.
So, what helps him generate the quick pace consistently? Let us try and understand his bowling action better:
Malik, son of a vegetable vendor, was three years old when he first got inclined towards cricket. Since then that he dreamt of becoming a professional cricketer and IPL comes as a major experience for him and could further act as a ladder to his progress. He had, notably, featured in a List A and one T20 match before this experience.
His bowling action has already been regarded as "one of the best in the world." by Australian pace legend Brett Lee. And this is how he begins his run-up :
Malik begins with leaning forward to maintain balance. He, then, strides into a slightly angular run-up to avoid jumping out. His jump before the release of the ball is straight as he maintains the same momentum.
His arm goes back while twisting his torso and the lower-body follows during the jump. Additionally, his right hip and torso, drives the shoulder forward before the release and the bending of his trunk, produces extra pace. There is also a bit of whip action in his back and the strong wrist position with an perfect alignment helps him to produce extra pace.
It is also commendable that Malik has all the makings of a great fast bowler without proper training, barring the lessons from Pathan. He has not only secured a place in IPL with his consistent performance for SRH, but also has given hopes to the nation for the future.