On a pleasant Friday morning, with a clear sky and sun shining bright, a couple of Indian youngsters took their first steps towards carving a great future in ODI cricket. One was Punjab’s Arshdeep Singh (Cap 248), and the other was Umran Malik (Cap 249) from Jammu. Both are like dynamos in the powerhouse of fast bowling. The former is a left-handed magician while the latter is the epitome of a lightning bolt. They were given the opportunity to open India’s bowling attack against a full-strength New Zealand, led by Kane Williamson. But it didn’t turn out the Men in Blue’s day as the hosts won the game by 7 wickets, taking a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series.
Umran was one of the glowing stars in India’s grey sky that twinkled impressively. His sensational speed would’ve surely given unending goosebumps to the Kiwi batters because he was simply toying with the speed gun. Starting from 149.1 kmph, he touched every fascinating figure and notched his best at 153.1 kph. While enjoying being quick on the draw, the dismissals of Devon Conway and Daryl Mitchell acted like the icing on the cake.
The later part of the game isn’t pleasing for an Indian cricket fan but the match-up between Umran and Kane Williamson was a treat to watch. One interesting instance was the first delivery of the 20th over, a short ball that squared up the Black Cap skipper who had no other option than to defend it. Williamson edged it. Since there wasn’t a slip in place, he survived, but his expressions spoke about the fire in that delivery.
Back in Jammu, Umran’s entire family was glued to the TV screen watching their child play for the country. His father, Abdul Rashid, took pride in that moment and explained to his mother that this foreign player used be the captain of his son’s team in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
“I told his mother that Umran used to bowl him [Williamson] in the nets and now they are facing each other. Aage ustaad hai toh pichhe chela (a faceoff between the master and the disciple). I really enjoyed watching them,” Rashid said in an exclusive conversation with News18 Cricketnext.
Umran has been fortunate enough to make debuts in two out of three formats in the same calendar. His pace has always made him look special on the list of rising talents of the country. But still, he missed out on a spot in India’s T20 World Cup squad. But his father isn’t worried about that. He, in fact, believes that whatever is written in one’s fate is bound to happen.
“Dekhiye janab… Log keh rahe the na, ki world cup nahi khela, lekin hum kehte hai ki achha hua jo nahi khela. Jo jab hona rehta hai wahi hota hai! (People were saying that he couldn’t get selected for the World Cup. We think it is great that he didn’t make it. Things happen when they are meant to.
“You don’t need to rush behind anything. The kid is in the learning phase. He shares the dressing room with the experienced ones. He’ll go there and learn from them. You need not hurry. The big players who are already there, they are doing pretty well while others get the opportunity after being noticed,” Umran’s father added.
Being a father of a budding cricketer, Rashid also has an idea of social media and is very well aware of the fact that his son was trending along with Sanju Samson that both should be given a chance. On Friday, when they did get featured in the playing XI, the Malik family was elated to see that.
“It was important for him to play the ODIs and he made a decent debut. The almighty backed him so did the entire nation. Sabka kehna tha ki Umran Mallik aur Sanju Samson ko khilao (People were talking about getting Umran and Sanju Samson in the team. It happened today and we felt great,” Rashid further added.
Unlike every day, Rashid, who runs a fruits and vegetable shop, didn’t go to work on Friday. He stayed back at home to watch his son’s debut game and meanwhile, attended the neighbours who are arriving at Umran’s residence to extend their warm wishes.
“Our kid is playing for the country. What else could we ask for? The entire world is watching him. It was his debut and we are happy for him. India should’ve won the game but no worries, we will win the next one,” Rashid concluded.