IPL 2021: Virat Kohli gives a signed jersey to SRH pace sensation Umran Malik

Umran Malik wasn’t a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad to start with. But the Orange Army had to rope him in as a short-term replacement after fast bowler T Natarajan was tested positive for COVID-19. Prior to the start of IPL 2021, he had played only one List A and one T20 match. In the 50-over format, he was taken to the cleaners as he conceded 98 runs against Bengal.

In the T20 format, however, he picked up a three-wicket haul against Railways. The 21-year-old made his IPL debut against the Kolkata Knight Riders in Dubai and grabbed the limelight. Although he couldn’t get a wicket, he bowled consistently in the 140s, even touching the 150 kmph mark once. The Jammu and Kashmir pacer didn’t flatter to deceive against Royal Challengers Bangalore either.

At the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, he turned out to be the most economical bowler for SRH and finished with figures of 4-0-21-1. On the back of his spell, SRH beat RCB by four runs. In the meantime, Malik had reasons to cheer about as Challengers’ skipper Virat Kohli gave him an autographed jersey after the conclusion of the encounter on Wednesday.

Umran Malik certainly is special, says Kane Williamson

While speaking to the commentators following the match, Kohli also lauded Malik for generating decent speeds. The 32-year-old also talked about the importance of nurturing young talents into world-beaters.

“[Umran Malik] good to see a guy bowling at 150 clicks. It’s important to understand the progress of individuals from here, how to look after yourself. We’ve got to maximise the potential of our fast-bowling stocks,” Virat was quoted as saying in the post-match presentation ceremony.

Moreover, Malik drew praises from SRH skipper Kane Williamson, who also won the Player of the Match award. The Sunrisers’ captain said that he wasn’t surprised by Malik’s performance in the two games he has played thus far.

“Umran certainly is special. We’ve seen him in the nets for a couple of seasons. Special opportunity for him and it’s not surprising to see him come and do well. Been a really valuable addition to the side,” Williamson was quoted as saying after the match.