Mohammed Siraj on Ashish Nehra: He taught me how to fool batsmen

Will Nehra's retirement mean the end of an era?

Ashish Nehra is all ready to bid adieu to cricket in front of his home crowd at Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi. India is set to lock horns with New Zealand in a 3-match T20I series and the 1st T20I will be Ashish Nehra’s farewell match. This is something that the BCCI took a call on after Nehra made a statement that he would like to retire on a high and in this particular series.

He will not be available for the next two T20Is. Mohammed Siraj, who is yet to make his T20I debut may fill in Ashish Nehra’s place. Ashish Nehra and Siraj have shared the dressing room in IPL, where both the cricketers represent Sunrisers Hyderabad.

While speaking to NDTV, Siraj revealed how Nehra treated him like a younger brother and helped him during the net sessions. He said,

I have played with Nehra bhai at Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL 2017. He has given me a lot of tips during net sessions. The tips helped me improve my game a lot. He never made me feel that he was a player who has played 20 years of cricket. He treated me like a younger brother. He told me how to fool a batsman with variations.

Speaking about how Nehra helped him develop as a bowler, Siraj further added,

Ball aise pakad, aur aise daal (Grip the ball and bowl like this). Batsmen ke footwork ko dhyaan se dekh aur fir line aur length change kario (Watch the batsman’s footwork closely and change the line and length accordingly). His pep talk has helped me take my game to next level. He has told me how to read a batsman’s mind.

On Nehra’s retirement and farewell match, Siraj said,

It needs a lot to serve 20 years to cricket. Nehra has done it. He is a legend. He deserves a fitting farewell. I am not sure whether I will play in the opening T20I or not, but If I will get a chance, it is going to be a very big moment for me. First donning India colours and sharing the same field with my favourite captain Virat Kohli and Nehra.


Recalling how his father worked hard for his dream to come true and how IPL 2017 became a turning point in his life, Siraj said,

My father is an auto-rickshaw driver. He has done a lot hard work to make me a cricketer. I didn’t want to let his hard work go in vain. Thankfully, I got the IPL call-up. IPL was a turning point. I am pretty good now (financially). I have seen tough times in my life. My father has provided me with everything without any if or but. He wanted me to represent India someday. I am a proud son now.

(With NDTV inputs)