Hyderabad: Mohammad Siraj’s rise in cricket world has been meteoric. From an unassuming ‘gully’ cricketer, he has blossomed into a tearaway fast bowler. In the last three years, this Hyderabadi lad has shown remarkable progress and finally got the nod from the national selectors to be picked for the forthcoming Test series against West Indies.
The MSK Prasad-led National selectors were pretty impressed with his performances. In the recent India ‘A’ match against the strong Australian ‘A’ team in Bengaluru, he took eight wickets in the first innings and three in the second.
The 24-year-old got into the limelight in 2015-16 season when he was the third highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy league phase with 43 wickets. The present Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun, who was the Hyderabad coach then, played a prominent role in giving shape to Siraj’s career.
“He has got good work ethics. He has got the pace. But he has also got a very good slower delivery. He can bowl yorkers at will too. The bouncers can be very deceitful,” pointed out Arun two years ago.
Former State opener Abdul Azeem, who saw Siraj from a young age, said he was always confident of Siraj making to the Indian team. “He has natural talent. What I like about him that he is a good learner of the game. He is a disciplined cricketer.”
P Jyothi Prasad, who was then the chairman of the State selection committee, too agreed with Azeem’s views. “This boy could bowl fast and I thought he could be a good investment for the future. I was very determined that he was selected to the Ranji team. Fortunately all the other selectors too agreed with my view.”
Siraj has acknowledged that he was fortunate to get good breaks. He made use of the opportunities. The tour to England too helped him to bowl in different conditions. He could swing and seam the ball around. “It is all about rhythm. I think in the last two years, I have become a matured cricketer. I know how to bowl in different conditions.”
He was also of the opinion that with Rahul Dravid as India A coach, it has helped him a lot. “I think I gained a lot under him. He has helped me to work on my bowling. I became wiser and knew the importance of good fast bowling,” he said after the recent Australia A series.