Mohammed Siraj credits Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rahul Dravid for his meteoric rise in Indian cricket
What's the story?
Fast bowler Mohammed Siraj, who received his maiden call-up to the Indian team, has attributed his rapid rise to the invaluable support provided by national bowling coach Bharat Arun. The 23-year old also credited Sunrisers Hyderabad teammate Bhuvneshwar Kumar as well as India 'A' coach Rahul Dravid for their vital suggestions which helped enhance his game.
A delighted Siraj revealed, "I can’t tell you how much I am indebted to Bharat Arun sir. He is a brilliant coach. Last year, he was with the Hyderabad team and for the first time (and) I got an insight on the kind of variations needed to survive at the highest level. He told me about the variations in slower deliveries (and) how to bowl a knuckle-ball. All these things helped me when I played IPL."
He added, "Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar) bhai encouraged me a lot during IPL. He would come up with lot of valuable suggestions on what areas to hit at the death (and) the lengths for particular batsmen. 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, as well as Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer, have both been named in the Indian squad for the upcoming 3-match T20I series against New Zealand. Their selections follow the recent trend of Indian selectors not shying away from inducting fresh faces in the team.
The heart of the matter
Siraj first came into national prominence when he picked up a remarkable tally of 41 wickets at an average of 18.92 from 9 matches in the 2016/17 Ranji Trophy season. His consistent showing propelled Hyderabad to a creditable quarter-final finish. Following his splendid performances in India's premier domestic tournament, the right-arm pacer continued to grab the headlines by fetching a whopping INR 2.6 crores in the IPL auction.
Representing Sunrisers Hyderabad, Siraj impressed by snaring 10 scalps from 6 matches with a best of 4/32. His bustling action and propensity to generate sharp pace set him apart from most seamers featuring in the 2017 IPL season. From then on, he gained entry into the India 'A' team for the tour of South Africa. Siraj recently played an unofficial Test as well as two 50-over games against the visiting New Zealand 'A' side.
Having received an unexpected call-up to the senior national team, Siraj will be seeking the opportunity to make his India debut when the 3-match T20I series against the Blackcaps begins on November 1 at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
The Indian selection panel, led by MSK Prasad, deserve praise for regularly bringing in new faces into the squad and expanding the player pool. With skipper Virat Kohli looking to build a strong team for the 2020 World T20, bilateral T20Is serve as an ideal platform to provide chances to deserving cricketers and consequently strengthening the depth of the side.