India fast bowler Umran Malik has caught the attention of cricket fans and legends world-wide with his raw, exciting, dripping pace. The 23-year-old pacer has made heads turn with his performances – first for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL and now for the Indian team.
Umran’s maiden ODI wicket for India, of New Zealand’s Devon Conway was an instant eye-catcher in November and the way he set up Bangladesh batter Najmul Hasan Shanto, destroying his off-stump and sending it cartwheeling with a 151 kph thunderbolt were a fast bowler’s dream.
Umran’s pace has got everyone talking, including Dale Steyn, Brett Lee and Wasim Akram, three of the greatest fast bowlers ever produced. Steyn has always been a vocal supporter of Umran from the IPL days, while Lee compared the Indian quick to a Ferrari. Akram even expressed his displeasure when Umran was not named in India’s T20 World Cup squad.
Besides, praises have also flown in Indian legends, such as Dilip Vengsarkar and Kapil Dev, but one appreciation in particular, that came from none other than the legendary Sunil Gavaskar, promises to take the cake.
“The last time I got really excited at seeing an Indian player was Sachin Tendulkar. And after that I am excited to see Umran Malik. I do believe he should play,” Gavaskar had said during the India vs South Africa T20I series back in June when Umran had earned his maiden India call-up.
Now, almost seven months after Gavaskar set the internet on fire with his massive compliment, Umran has reacted to it, saying he is grateful to the former India captain for his plaudits.”Thank you, sir. If he gets excited seeing me, I am thankful. I obviously like it if someone says something good about me. For me, it’s a huge deal,” Umran told News24 Sports in an interview.
Last year, Umran, after being fast-tracked into the team, has already featured in ODIs and Tests, and the next step for the India pacer, like any up-and-coming youngster is to don the whites. An uber-confident Umran says he is ready to perform whatever role the team wants him to, and willing to play any format if that means he can get better.”See, whatever call I get regarding whichever cricket, I have to play.
Be it Ranji or anything else. Even when I am not on National duty, I will play everything that comes my way. I am ready to play any and all format. Every cricketer dreams of wearing the Test jersey and hopefully, whenever I get the chance, I will give my best,” added Umran.