Siraj was one of the heroes of India’s triumph at Lord’s during the recent England tour, claiming four wickets in both innings. He blew England away with an inspired bowling effort on Day 5.
In an interview with Sportstar, the 27-year-old hailed captain Kohli’s role in his success. Asked what advice the Indian captain gave him, Siraj revealed:
“'We know that you are really good with your inswingers. But to keep the batsmen guessing, you should be equally good with the outswingers.' (Kohli’s advice) That’s what I have been working really hard and immensely pleased with the Lord’s spell.”
While Siraj was the star performer at Lord’s, he could not replicate his success in the subsequent Tests. He looked a bit tired at Leeds and The Oval, claiming only three wickets in two Tests.
Reflecting on the England tour, the Hyderabad cricketer termed it a great experience. He added that bowling with the senior pacers in the team was a big learning curve.
Siraj spoke about the series that came to an abrupt end after the final Test was canceled:
“I am glad that I could repose the faith of my captain Virat bhai (Kohli), head coach Ravi Shastri, the support staff and the entire team. Definitely, bowling in tandem with big names like Shami bhai, Ishant bhai and Jasprit bhai is a huge learning curve for me. They were so supportive and always came up with invaluable tips to keep improving my bowling.”
The Indian pacer failed to find a place in the 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup to be held in the UAE in October-November. He will next be seen in action for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the second half of IPL 2021.
“We were confident, though not complacent” - Mohammed Siraj on mood ahead of England series
India went to England having tasted success against the same opponent at home. Before that, they even defeated Australia in Australia. They, however, went down to New Zealand in the World Test Championship (WTC) final rather tamely.
Asked to elaborate on the feeling in the Indian camp ahead of the Test series against England, Siraj revealed:
“We were confident, though not complacent. This team is on a high after the memorable series win in Australia. It is a team with complete balance in all departments. And, personally, for me it is a joy to be part of such a unit led by such an inspirational leader like Virat bhai.”
On his match-winning spell at Lord’s and missing a hat-trick twice, Siraj said:
"Obviously, playing at Lords’ and performing there is something which I cannot explain in words even now. As a child I came to know it as the Mecca of world cricket. And, it was an unforgettable experience to play there and help the team win the Test."
“To be honest, I didn’t think too much after missing a hat-trick twice in the Lord’s Test. I felt what God wanted for me happened. Yes, I was disappointed at missing a five-wicket haul at that historic venue.”
Siraj has played nine Tests for India so far and has 30 wickets to his name at an average of 29.4.