Dubai, October 5: Since the last fortnight, the fruits and vegetable shop of Abdul Rashid Malik in Seedhi Chowk, Jammu city, has seen unprecedented rush, people hanging around the local vendor's yard to have a word with him.
For once, it has nothing to do with business but to congratulate Abdul for his son's selection to the IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad. By now, you might have guessed the name too - Umran Malik.
The 22-year-old has taken the IPL 2021 by storm while making his debut for SRH against Kolkata Knight Riders. The Hyderabad side had lost that match but Umran made his debut a memorable one delivering a thunder bolt at 151 kmph, the fastest ball by an Indian pacer in the IPL 2021 so far.
Abdul is a happy man seeing the upwardly mobile graph of his son as a cricketer. "Umran had worked hard for this. He always wanted to play cricket. He has seen players like Parvez Rasool and Abdul Samad getting a chance to play India and in the IPL. From a young age, he started dedicated training to become a cricketer. We supported him as much as we can," Abdul told MyKhel.
''Umran never skipped a chance to play cricket - whether it is tennis ball or real cricket ball, he just wanted to keep playing. Sometimes, he will go out of the house early and comeback very late and will tell us he played in 2 or 3 matches that day around the city.
''When Abdul Samad got a chance to play cricket for Hyderabad, Umran was very happy and told us that he too is hoping to join him soon. Umran and Samad are very good friends and J&K coach Irfan Pathan too helped him a lot with pace bowling tips and advices to keep his fitness," he said.
Umran is not an entirely unknown product as he has played for Jammu and Kashmir for Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy earlier this year.
''Samad got him an opportunity to bowl at the Sunrisers' nets and it was a happy moment for all of us when he was taken to Dubai as the team's net bowler but none of us thought Umran would actually playing in the IPL," said Abdul.
Umran's ability to bowl at high pace has created a buzz around but Abdul is not surprised. "A lot of people had told us that Umran can bowl very fast and he always wanted to be a fast bowler. He keeps on training at nets around here, or with the Jammu team and his sole aim is to become better as a cricketer. Hopefully, Allah will grand his wish," he said.
"Nobody thought even this much (playing for State and in the IPL) but we always believe hard work will eventually pay off," he added.
The path for Umran to play for Sunrisers was cleared when pacer T Natarajan had to go in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19, and the franchise drafted the Jammu boy as a short-term replacement on September 24.
"Umran had called us from UAE to tell us that he will be joining the Sunrisers main squad and we were praying that he should get at least one chance to play. It happened and now we hope that he will get more chances soon," said Abdul.