NEW DELHI: Umran Malik‘s demeanour is of a happy-go-lucky person who, at present, will give you the vibes of a kid at a candy store. He is simply enjoying all the spotlight. He doesn’t seem to be overawed even while rubbing shoulders with the big boys of Indian cricket. He just wants to bowl fast.
Even if it is a standard practice session, Umran loves bowling fast, loves bowling bouncers at the batsman, loves giving chills to the men wielding the willow. He follows the straightforward mantra “pace to pace hai yaar”.


Pacer Umran Malik trains in Delhi ahead of the T20 series vs South Africa. (TOI Photo)
When the Indian team gathered at the Kotla on Monday for its first practice session before the five-match T20I series against South Africa, Umran was the centre of attention.
Everyone was curious to see the speed merchant from Jammu and check out whether the hype was real. More importantly, how quick was the 22-year-old to the naked eye? The common inference was he is “extremely fast”.

Umran’s skipper for the T20I series versus South Africa, KL Rahul, got a first-hand taste as the pacer’s deliveries were literally smashing Rahul‘s blade.

Perhaps Umran was trying to impress the captain and give a hands-on experience of what he brings to the table! The ‘Jammu Express’, as he is nicknamed now, wants to “help India win all the five matches against South Africa if given a chance”.


Pacer Umran Malik trains in Delhi ahead of the T20 series vs South Africa. (TOI Photo)
At the nets, Umran was seen closely working with India’s pace bowling coach Paras Mhambrey, while chief coach Rahul Dravid was making some notes.
Among the batsmen, Rahul, Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik spent a considerable length of time honing their skills. Pant was at his usual aggressive self, hitting pacers Umran, Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh with aplomb. Axar Patel‘s left-arm spin was meted out with some Pant pyrotechnics. Karthik practiced a variety of shots – including the ramp and reverse ramp – that are specifically required for slog overs hitting.

India’s lead pacer for the series, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, was immaculate with what he wanted to do at the nets and left after bowling for a short span of time. Yorkers were Bhuvi’s priority, and he nailed most of those with Mhambrey keeping a close watch.
Another pacer who was impressive with his execution of yorkers was Arshdeep. The Punjab lad achieved whatever Mhambrey instructed him to do – whether they were the wide yorkers or the ones within the stumps.


Umran Malik during a practice session for the upcoming T20 series against South Africa. (PTI Photo)

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