Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan has played a big role in helping the Sunrisers Hyderabad’s emerging bowler Umran Malik who impressed everyone in his debut IPL game against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Initially, the 21-year-old bowler was selected as a net bowler in the team but after Tamil Nadu left-arm pacer T Natarajan contracted COVID-19, Malik got his feet in the SRH squad as a replacement.
Although Malik had to sit out for the first few games but, when he got to play against KKR on Sunday he ensured he made this opportunity count as he clocked more than 150kmph speed in Dubai.
Randhir Singh Manhas, a coach at Jammu & Kashmir Sports Council, credited Irfan Pathan for his contribution in his ward’s footsteps to competitive cricket.
“Irfan being a top-level fast bowler, he saw potential in Umran and they started mentoring the young cricketers and that boosted his confidence,” Manhas told Sportstar.
Irfan mentioned how the young bowler grabbed the eyes of the SRH team management with his bowling in the nets against Australian batsman David Warner.
“He has been a net bowler at Sunrisers for a while now and that has helped. This year, David Warner struggled while facing him at the nets and that’s how he caught the eye of the team management. 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,” Pathan was quoted as saying by Sportstar.
Although Umran Malik didn’t find any wickets in his debut IPL match he still announced his arrival in the white-ball game in a fashionable manner. Talking about the first impression of the bowler, Irfan Pathan said it was his pace that looked promising to him.
“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,” Pathan said.
“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,” he added.
Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have already been knocked out of the tournament, lost to KKR by six wickets. Umran Malik has two more games to play and showcase his talent in the final stage of the league matches.