Hyderabad: Mohammad Siraj’s fortunes are on upswing. The 24-year-old Hyderabadi is slowly and steadily making his mark as India ‘A’ bowler both in shorter and longer formats of the game. In the recent tour of England, the speedster chipped in away with useful wickets. He took seven wickets in India’s lost cause to English Lions that had players like former captain Alastair Cook, whom he cleaned up in the second innings.
Ever since he ended up as third highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy in his second season after making his first class debut in 2015, Siraj has grown in stature. “I’m fortunate to get good breaks. It is all about hard work. I’m happy that I’m able to make use of the opportunities. I’m in a good rhythm now. The tour of England has been very good for me. I could bowl in different conditions. Although, the weather was dry and humid in England, I could get some good pitches where I could swing and seam the ball around. But on the whole, there was not much of swing this year,’’ said Siraj, who is in the city for a short break after the English tour.
Talking about his performances in England, Siraj said he enjoyed bowling there and was happy that he was among the wickets. “I think the wicket of Cook was one of the highlight of the tour. The ball swung in late to disturb his stumps. I stuck to a plan. I knew that I have to bowl to good areas.’’
He also felt that with Rahul Dravid as coach it has helped him to be patient with the ball. “It is a learning experience for me. With Rahul sir as coach, I learnt to be patient. He simply told me to stick to the basics. He asked me not to try too many things and most importantly to bowl according to the conditions. He told me to bowl to my strength.’’
Back after the English tour, Siraj is ready for the India `A’ home series against South Africa and Australia. “In India, it will be different conditions. I have to discipline myself and bowl on the important areas. It is a big challenge. I’m looking forward to this series as there are good batsmen in the Australia team.’’
Asked about the competition in the Indian pace department, Siraj said he is focusing on taking wickets. “I would like to take wickets and that is the key. I have to work on my bowling and that is important.’’ Siraj added that he is always in touch with Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun. “He has been a constant source of inspiration. He keeps on giving advices but he always stressed on discipline.’’
The Hyderabad fast bowler said he was happy that Indian captain Virat Kohli readily accepted his invitation for dinner when the Royal Challengers Bangalore were in the city for the IPL match. “I was lucky to host Kohli and my other RCB teammates for a dinner. When I proposed the idea to my captain and without hesitation, he came home. My parents were very happy,’’ said Siraj, whose father was once an auto driver.