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Tennis ball cricket is key to Umran Malik’s pace, reveals Parvez Rasool

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New Delhi: Parvez Rasool has said that the key to Umran Malik’s pace is playing Tennis Ball as the light weight of the ball means a bowler needs to put extra effort to generate pace. Malik made his IPL debut for Sunrisers Hyderabad against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday and generated high pace.

The Jammu and Kashmir pacer made his debut in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in January. He was named as  the short-term replacement for injured T. Natarjan earlier in September. In the match against KKR, he generated a pace of high 140s and his highest pace was 151.03 which is also the highest by an Indian in the ongoing IPL season so far. Rasool praised the speedster saying Malik can hurry the batter with sheer pace.

“He is a very talented boy. When I played him in the nets, he was quick. Woh bahot teekha thaa (he was pretty fast) but this was at a different level,” Rasool, the Jammu and Kashmir captain, who has played white ball cricket for India, told PTI on Monday.

“He was literally hurrying the batters with sheer pace. I was very proud to see him hold his own at such a big stage.”

Rasool explained the secret of Malik’s pace saying that playing Tennis Ball has helped him generate this much pace.

“Look, I don’t think in his initial years, he had formal coaching before joining the coaching camp of District Sports Council. He used to play a lot of tennis ball matches on hire for Rs 500 or 1000.

“If you look at some of our best fast bowlers including Jasprit (Bumrah), they have all been tennis ball cricket products.

“The light weight of the tennis ball means that to generate pace, you need that extra effort. This kid developed strength and pace by playing tennis ball games that he would play in and around Jammu,” Rasool reasoned.

The 32-year-old said that he didn’t know Umran before the speedster accompanied Abdul Samad in the Jammu and Kashmir nets.

“He is very close to Samad. It was Samad who got him to the state team nets. I think when he was at the U-19 level, he had a bit of consistency issues and that’s why I don’t think he played a lot of games at the Cooch Behar or Vijay Merchant Trophy,” Rasool recalled.

“However even then, he was very quick for an 18-year-old and would bowl in the mid 140s regularly. Facing him in the nets wasn’t an easy job. “However he was picked last season for the trial games where he troubled some of our top state team batters and we included him for the Mushtaq Ali Trophy,” Rasool said.

Rasool believes that the fire in Umran comes from the fact that he hails from a very humble background. His father owns a small fruit shop in Jammu’s Gujjar Nagar area.

“His family has had their share of financial struggles and obviously that spurred him to do well. But I would give a lot of credit to SunRisers Hyderabad management which included him as a net bowler and has certainly worked on his raw talent which shone through on IPL debut.

“He has certainly increased a yard or two of pace and that is SRH’s coaching staff’s credit,” Rasool observed.

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