When Mayanti Langer Binny asked Ravi Shastri on Star Sports the other evening about Sunrisers Hyderabad's Wonder Fast Bowler Umran Malik, the former India team coach said the folks who run Indian cricket must take great care of the 22-year-old Kashmiri to protect his unique skills in bowling thunderbolts faster than currently any other Indian fast bowler does.
Shastri wanted Umran to be based at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru where his magnificent skills could be further guided and nurtured on NCA Director V V S Laxman and his team's watch, so that he does not go the Varun Aaron way.
The Jharkhand fast bowler was once the fastest bowler in the land, but his talent was not nurtured adequately and Aaron never reached the heights once expected of him.
Umran Malik's bowling against the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Brabourne stadium on Friday night was so dazzling that Sunrisers Hyderabad Fast Bowling Coach Dale Steyn leapt out of his chair to hug Muthaiah Muralitharan.
The reason, Dale explained later, was that Murali felt Umran should bowl a yorker to KKR Captain Shreyas Iyer, which SRH Coach Tom Moody and Steyn felt, 'No, if he bowls a yorker now, he's going to be hit for a four over his head.'
'(Umran) Runs in, bowls a yorker, knocks the stumps over the ground.... Honestly, what do I know, as a coach genuinely, what do I know... The genius is in the players.'
When SRH retained Umran -- along with Skipper Kane Williamson and Abdul Samad -- for Rs 4 crore (Rs 40 million) before the IPL auction, many were surprised. No longer.
Please click on the images for glimpses of The One and Only Umran Malik in action.
All photographs: IPL/BCCI