Daily Crossword & Sudoku
Advertisement

Umran Malik: From Kashmir, a son of a fruit-seller, who is yet to play for the country, offers hope

Malik injects a never-before feeling: A visceral thrill at watching a ball rush through the air.

What he offers is hope, and his emergence upholds the cherished belief that in sport, particularly cricket at least, an Indian with a talent will be identified, nurtured, and celebrated — regardless of class, race, religion, region or language.

For the past few years the Indian Test team has had a potent pace attack that has been the envy of the world. But there has never been someone quite like Umran Malik. You can marvel at Jasprit Bumrah’s physique and the intelligence in his bowling, appreciate Mohammad Shami’s seam positions, smile at Umesh Yadav’s swing at pace, nod at Mohammad Siraj’s springy zest. But Malik injects a never-before feeling: A visceral thrill at watching a ball rush through the air. There have been highly skilful fast bowlers and more are mushrooming, but Malik hurls intimidatory blurs, adrenalin-kickers, cannonballs to satiate cricket devotees’ lust for pace.

His background adds romance to the story. From Kashmir, a son of a fruit-seller, a boy who began as a net-bowler, and who is yet to play for the country. What he offers is hope, and his emergence upholds the cherished belief that in sport, particularly cricket at least, an Indian with a talent will be identified, nurtured, and celebrated — regardless of class, race, religion, region or language.

But at the core, the real deal is Malik’s pace. It may not last too long, and he will probably need more than that to become a great bowler. But that sobering thought can wait. In the here and now, it’s how he takes the pitch out of the equation, how he makes fierce Australians go weak in their knees, how he makes international batsmen flinch in pain. He is growing as a bowler. Toes and heads are being threatened, LED-bails are lighting up eagerly, stumps are flying, and as Jeff Thompson, probably the fastest bowler that ever was, once said, he can smell fear in the batsmen. For the first time, an Indian bowler can say the same.

Subscriber Only Stories
Premium
Premium
Premium
Premium
First published on: 29-04-2022 at 03:40:14 am
Next Story

April 29, 1982, Forty Years Ago: Britain Steps Up Heat

Home
ePaper
Next Story
X