Mohammad Siraj got his maiden T20I call-up in the three-match T20I series against New Zealand on October 23. Siraj was previously in the news when he got a whopping Rs 2.6 crore deal from Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 auction. Siraj emerged as one of the best death overs bowler in a pace attack led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Siraj complemented Bhuvneshwar to win a few matches and impress the selectors. The 23-year-old has got pace and is one of India’s emerging fast bowlers. He did well in the recently concluded practice games playing for India A against New Zealand A.
After being selected in the T20I squad, Siraj told PTI,
I feel proud that at 23, I am good enough to shoulder the responsibility of my family. The day I got an IPL contract, I told my father that I won’t let him work anymore. And yes, I have shifted with my family to a new house.
I knew that sometime in future I will get a call-up but did not expect it this soon. I can’t tell you how happy I am. When I told my parents, they were speechless. It’s a dream come true.
He further said,
Whatever I am today is primarily because of Ranji Trophy performance. My 40-odd wickets last season gave me the confidence. There’s nothing like getting wickets in First Class cricket. I was picked for Rest of India after that and because of Ranji Trophy, I got the IPL deal. So 60 per cent credit for this call-up is performance in first-class cricket.
He also talked about his coach and how he was coached to bowl as a pacer,
I can’t tell you how much I am indebted to Bharath Arun sir. He is a brilliant coach. Last year, he was with the Hyderabad team and for the first time, I got an insight into the kind of variations needed to survive at the highest level. He told me about the variations in slower deliveries, how to bowl a knuckleball. All these things helped me when I played IPL.
Talking about his fellow bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, he said,
Bhuvi bhai encouraged me a lot during IPL. He would come up with a lot of valuable suggestions on what areas to hit at the death, the lengths for particular batsmen.
He also talked about the advice he got from Rahul Dravid,
Dravid sir told me that I need not change anything in my bowling. His advice has been pretty simple. Do what has got you success till now. Hopefully, I can replicate my success at the highest level.
Siraj might be the replacement for Ashish Nehra after the latter announced retirement from all forms of cricket. Indian skipper Virat Kohli might give Siraj a chance to check his bench strength. The T20I will take place on December 1 at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi.