Siraj rocked New Zealand with figures of 3 for 19 in the first innings in Mumbai, dismissing Tom Latham, Will Young and Ross Taylor. The Kiwis could not recover from Siraj’s early blows and succumbed to 62 all out.
Praising Siraj, Vettori said that he does everything one can ask for from a fast bowler. During a discussion on ESPN Cricinfo, he commented:
“Siraj is something special. Every time he comes into a Test match, something happens. (Virat) Kohli goes to him quite a bit to bring some energy and his pace remains the same. He runs in hard and does everything you want from a fast bowler.”
Vettori backed India to play Siraj ahead of Ishant Sharma in the playing XI during the Test series in South Africa. Explaining his choice, the Kiwi legend said:
“That’s not to diminish anything from Ishant Sharma, but I just think the timing is right for someone like Siraj to come in and offer something special to the Indian bowling line-up in South African conditions.”
Having made his debut during the Boxing Day Test against Australia last year, Siraj has played 10 Tests in which he has claimed 33 wickets at an average of 27.69.
“Will be fascinating to see if his form translates in different conditions” - Daniel Vettori on Axar Patel
Vettori also said he would be interested in tracing Indian left-arm spinner Axar Patel’s performance away from home. The 27-year-old has claimed 36 wickets in five Tests at an average of 11.86. However, he is yet to play a Test away from home.
Speaking about Axar's success, Vettori said:
“It will be fascinating to see if his (Axar’s) form translates in different conditions. He is an exceptional bowler in India because of his consistency and the fact that he bowls round arm with a little bit of under spin. Whether he can be as successful in other parts of the world will be fascinating, but he deserves that chance.”
Axar claimed nine wickets at an average of 15.66 in the two-match Test series against New Zealand. He also notched up his maiden Test fifty in Mumbai.