At present, India has a wealth of bowling options to choose from in all formats. Bhuvneshwar Kumar seems to have rediscovered his mojo while Jasprit Bumrah seems lethal as ever despite his back injury. When it comes to youngsters, the likes of Prasidh Krishna and Arshdeep Singh have made their presence felt at the biggest level. Umran Malik, meanwhile, has raw speed up his sleeve, which puts him a notch above the rest.
Umran turned heads with his sheer pace in the 2022 IPL, regularly going past the 150kph mark. The Jammu bowler, who clocked the fastest delivery (156.9 kph) by an Indian in the recent IPL, ended up picking 22 wickets in 14 games. His thunderbolts earned him high praise from pundits and former players including Hyderabad’s bowling coach Dale Steyn, who said he was “blown away” by the youngster’s pace.
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Umran may have been expensive in world cricket but former Australia pacer Glenn McGrath feels pace is something which cannot be taught to a bowler. The bowling great advised Umran to now slow down for getting control.
“Sheer pace is unique. You can’t teach someone to bowl 150-plus, they’ve got to be able to naturally do that. I hate seeing bowlers slow down to get control. I like to see bowlers working harder on control, putting the time and effort in the nets to get to know their game while still bowling at top pace. Because someone who bowls at excess of 150 kph is very rare. I don’t like to see express pacers slow down to get control,” McGrath said in an interview with cricket.com.
“I haven’t seen a huge amount of Umran Malik but the fact that he can bowl at a good pace is impressive,” added the former pacer.
McGrath, who is the director of the MRF Pace Foundation, further shared tips for fast bowlers and explained how they look at many attributes including pace and height.
“We are, first and foremost, looking for fast bowlers. You can get someone to bowl a yard or two quicker but you can’t turn a 130 kph seamer into a 150 kph tearaway. That’s just the way it is. It’s about identifying talents who can bowl fast, but also guys who are tall, can generate bounce, swing and seam. We look at all different attributes — this comes under the skill side of things.”
The Australian believes that a player needs to have a strong work ethic, which involves putting his body through pain and sharpening his mental skill-set as well.
“Then, secondly, we ask the question: are they prepared to work hard? You’ve got to have a really good work ethic to be a fast bowler. You’ve got to be prepared to work hard and put your body through pain. And then on top of everything, mental strength and attitude. The difference between a good bowler and a great bowler lies in the mind. Same as how the difference between a good cricketer and a great cricketer is the mental approach, the attitude, routines and how the individual handles things,” added McGrath.
“We try to provide an environment where they can learn and get to know themselves better because the best coach they can have is themselves. That’s what we try to impart on the players at the academy,” he concluded.