Kane Williamson applauds ‘nasty fasty’ Umran Malik, as he rises to the top of the IPL at speed

When 22-year-old Umran Malik was announced as a short-term replacement at Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2021 he was described as 'medium-pace'. He soon showed that he was anything but.

Malik's fastest ball in last year's IPL registered at 153kph (95mph), and his breakneck speeds had some big names waxing lyrical over him.

The Indian has now clocked the second-fastest ball in IPL history against Delhi Capitals - 157kph. What's that in old money, you ask? Quick. 97.5mph.

SRH skipper Kane Williamson described him as "special" last season, and clearly the rest of the organisation shared those feelings, as he was retained by Sunrisers for the 2022 edition, along with the New Zealand captain.

The Kiwi's admiration of Malik did not stop then, as the seamer has continued to frighten batters with genuine pace in the 2022 edition of the IPL.

"He's the definition of a nasty fasty isn't he?" Williamson said on The Grade Cricketer.

Williamson, famed for playing the ball late, joked about the best way of combating the pace that Malik delivers the ball at.

"Just get on the front foot, you'd have to start at the top of his run up otherwise you wouldn't get far."

Malik has already delivered a good number of the fastest balls in this season's IPL, and has been battling with Gujarat Titans' Lockie Ferguson for the fastest ball for much of the tournament so far.

Only Australia quick Shaun Tait has sent down a quicker delivery in the IPL, than Malik's 157kph.

Malik is already in the same league as one of a very select group of crackers to have topped 100mph, and that milestone will surely be on his radar.

Williamson also made a joke about the speeds Malik bowls in the nets being even quicker than those he produces in games.

"Bowls 180 in the nets that's for sure, only 150 in the games," he said.

Time and time again this season, Malik has sent down thunderbolts to the batters. He has also got quite the knack of taking wickets.

His best performance of the season was his maiden five-wicket haul, against the table-topping Gujarat Titans. He finished with figures of 5 for 25, and his scalps included every single one of the top four: Wriddhiman Saha, Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya and David Miller.

The best snare of the lot was a 95mph yorker to Saha, which underlined a wonderful day with the ball for the quick.

It is not only within the Sunrisers organisation that Malik has gained attention.

Another vocal admirer is former India captain Virat Kohli. When Malik burst onto the scene last season, the India star was very complimentary of him.

"Good to see a guy bowling at 150 clicks. It's important to understand the progress of individuals from here, how to look after yourself. We've got to maximise the potential of our fast bowling stocks," he said.

SRH appear to know how to manage this process, as Malik, they would hope, transitions into an international cricketer.

Bowling coach Dale Steyn knows better than most what it takes to be an international fast bowler, and he and the rest of the organisation seem to be managing Malik well.

He tends to bowl outside of the powerplay, so he is able to have men outside the ring, and is given licence just to bowl quick.

You would imagine possessing an asset who is capable of clocking mid-90mph speeds, they don't mind too much if he does not quite have his range sometimes, as he is sure to take wickets just by rushing batters, and beating them for pace, which he has shown he has a handy knack for so far.

As he hones his craft he will no doubt become even more of a skilled bowler, and could soon join India's fast-bowling ranks, the quickest of which would probably be one of Jasprit Bumrah or Mohammed Shami; Malik would offer even higher speeds.

But for now, he is bowling at a frightening pace, taking wickets and impressing just as much as the likes of Bumrah and Shami in IPL 2022.

Sunrisers appear all the better in Malik's first full season with the side, and will no doubt hope to be the stepping stone to great things for him.

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