Mohammad Siraj has taken giant strides forward after a brilliant 2016-17 Ranji Trophy season. After making his debut in 2015, Siraj announced himself with 41 wickets in the last Ranji season. The seamer carried his form into the IPL, where he played for Sunrisers Hyderabad, and has been rewarded with berth in India ‘A’ squads for tour of South Africa.
Siraj spoke to bcci.tv ahead of South Africa tour and insisted that his dream will come true. “This is a good opportunity for me and I will try to make the most of it. I would like to perform and make it count as I look to play for India in the future. God willing my dream will come true. People at home and my team-mates are very happy that I have been selected for India ‘A’,” he said.
Siraj also said that the ability to bowl quick bouncers comes to him naturally. “It is a natural delivery for me and it comes on quickly (at the batsman). I will focus on where I pitch it.”
He also shared his experience before he was a part of the Hyderabad team. The seamer used to play with the tennis-ball and had no idea about the movement and other technicalities of bowling. “I used to play tennis-ball cricket. Before playing in the Ranji Trophy, I didn’t know anything about things like seam or swing. All I knew was to bowl on one spot and that’s what I would do. Now I know other things like reverse swing,” Siraj said.
“I got to learn a lot from Paras sir during the Ranji Trophy. He would tell me to keep bowling in one area, bowl your stock ball to whoever the batsman is and back yourself. The batsman will make a mistake and you will get a wicket,” he added.
Siraj, commenting on his strengths said, “I try to hit the fourth stump from good length regardless of whether I am playing with the white ball or red ball. That is what I focus on.”
He got a lot of help in the IPL, playing alongside in-form bowlers including Ashish Nehra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and coach Tom Moody helped him focus on his bowling. “I learnt a lot about things like what lengths to bowl in different phases of the game which worked and helped me succeed.”
On being asked about the upcoming South Africa tour, Siraj said, “I don’t know how the wickets will be in South Africa. I will go there and see. In one-dayers, I will work on bowling yorkers in death overs and things like that. I will focus on my strengths whether it is a multi-day or a one-day game and do what I have been doing in domestic cricket.”