In the ongoing IPL 2022, Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer Umran Malik has been enthralling cricket fans with his searing pace on the speed gun and taking awards for bowling the fastest ball of the match.
Though he has conceded a lot of runs due to batters taking advantage of extra pace by sending the ball to the boundary rope, Malik has already left another former tearaway pacer excited with his pace: Dale Steyn, ex-South Africa great currently serving as Hyderabad’s pace bowling coach.
“It’s great to see someone run in and bowl 150kmph an hour. Very often we try and create guys to make them more aware like change your pace, do this and that. But I think Umran is out and out raw. It’s great to just let him loose and do what he does, which is great because you don’t want to change people and block him off too much.”
“To watch him bowl at 150 clicks an hour consistently is super exciting, not just for me but for everyone watching the game at home or in stadium. It’s not great to face but it’s super exciting,” said Steyn in a pre-match chat with broadcasters Star Sports.
In Hyderabad’s match against Kolkata Knight Riders, Malik rattled Shreyas Iyer’s stumps with a pitch-perfect yorker. The right-handed batter shuffled around his crease to create room for a cut but saw his stumps being disturbed by a searing yorker from Malik in the tenth over. On seeing this dismissal from the dugout, Steyn jumped from his seat to hug spin bowling coach Muttiah Muralitharan.
Steyn explained the story behind jubilant scenes in the dugout on seeing Malik castle Iyer. “Just tapping on that story, we had come up with a couple of game plans. Murali (Muralitharan) was actually sitting there and he said, ‘the perfect ball to bowl right now will be yorker’. I actually turned around and Tom Moody said, ‘I don’t think the yorker would be a good idea. He might get bashed over his head.’ Umran runs in, bowls the yorker and knocks the pegs off the ground. I kinda jumped on Murali to say, ‘You are the spin coach and you got it right, called it for the fast bowlers’.”
After losing their first two matches to Rajasthan Royals and Lucknow Super Giants, Hyderabad made a strong comeback by winning against Chennai Super Kings, Gujarat Titans and Kolkata Knight Riders. With the possibility of winning their fourth straight match against Punjab Kings at D.Y Patil Stadium, Steyn feels that things are slowly falling in place for Hyderabad.
“Everything’s going nicely. We had a lot of things go our way. We won a couple of tosses, which has been really important for us. You never know it could change today, so these are the things we talk about. Just making guys aware of what the possibilities are but everyone’s doing quite nicely.”
“Bowlers have done a fantastic job; two steady guys have bowled at the death (overs). The batters have come too (to the party), Aiden (Markram), Nicky (Pooran), and Rahul Tripathi have been incredible and fielding has been good so far too. All round, everyone’s kinda ticking the boxes and collaboratively been working well together.”
Being associated with Hyderabad’s support staff as a pace bowling coach is Steyn’s first coaching stint after retiring from the game as a prolific pacer for the Proteas. Last year, he worked as a commentator for Men’s T20 World Cup in the UAE. For now, Steyn is happy taking the coaching mantle to groom pacers with a promising future like Malik though he misses his friends in the commentary box.
“I am actually really enjoying it. To be honest, I feel a lot more natural when I am wearing athletic gear as opposed to wearing like the jacket and tie. So, I feel more at home right now in the dugout but I do miss you guys in the commentary box; I won’t lie.”