Fast-rising pacer Mohammed Siraj is ready to put in the hard yards and make full use of the opportunities that will help him realise a long-cherished dream of becoming India’s highest wicket-taker The 27-year-old has played five Tests, one ODI and three T20Is for India so far after making his debut in the shortest format against New Zealand in November, 2017.
Siraj, who plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, said he wants to play all the three formats and credited his success to fellow pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma.
‘Jasprit Bumrah used to stand beside me whenever I was bowling. He told me to stick to the basics and not do something extra. It’s nice to learn from such an experienced player,’ Siraj said in a video posted by RCB on its official Twitter handle.
‘I even played with Ishant Sharma, he has played 100 Tests. It felt good to share the dressing room with him. My dream is to be the highest wicket-taker for India and I will work hard whenever I get an opportunity.’ A key pacer for RCB, Siraj, who has captured 39 wickets in 35 IPL matches, said he was low on confidence when he first joined the squad but a good performance against KKR lifted his spirits.
‘Last year, when I joined RCB, I was low on confidence. But when I started bowling with the new ball, I was also bowling on a single wicket, which helped me a lot,’ he said.
‘And then the performance against KKR gave me a lot of confidence. The team culture here is so nice that everyone used to get together and discuss stuff like Virat does.’ Siraj said he will look to continue his aggressive bowling after getting a good feedback from RCB’s batting consultant Sanjay Bangar.
‘I was talking to Sanjay sir. He told me that my rhythm is good. I am meeting you after so long but you are putting in the same effort that you used to put for the Indian team. Your rhythm, aggression and confidence … it is all looking nice, so continue that.’ Siraj has been on an impressive run since making his Test debut in Australia last December.
It was an emotional tour for Siraj as he had lost his father while undergoing quarantine in Australia.
‘During Australia tour, I was in quarantine and when we came back from practice, I got to know my father passed away. Unfortunately, no one could come to my room,’ Siraj said.
‘I called home and my fiance, mother were very supportive and they told me that I need to fulfill my father’s dream of seeing me play for India.’ Talking about his relation with India bowling coach Bharat Arun, Siraj said: ‘Arun sir treats me like a son. When I talk to him, it boosts my confidence. When he was in Hyderabad, he always told me to focus on line and length.
‘I want to play all three formats for India. Whatever opportunities I get, I want to give my 100 per cent and grab them with both hands. There is a series against England after the IPL, I will give my best.’ On living inside a bio-bubble, Siraj said: ‘Bubble life is really difficult because can’t step out. But this is helping players become stronger. Now there is more time to think about performance.
‘I was working hard on my fitness during the lockdown, when I bowled during the (Australia) Test series, I realised how much it helped me,’ he concluded.
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