India coach Ravi Shastri presented Mohammad Siraj his debut international cap on Saturday. Captain Virat Kohli later announced that Siraj has been taken into the playing XI in place of the retired Ashish Nehra. Siraj grabbed headlines earlier in the year when reigning champions Sunrisers Hyderabad shelled out Rs 2.6 crore to sign him up. He then justified that price tag taking ten wickets in six matches and helped the Sunrisers reach the eliminator. Siraj has also been prominent in the domestic circuit. He took 41 wickets in the previous season for Hyderabad.
Siraj said that he has received a lot of guidance from Ashish Nehra. The two played together until last season for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. “I have played with Nehra bhai at Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL 2017. He has given me a lot of tips during net sessions. The tips helped me improve my game a lot. He never made me feel that he was a player who has played 20 years of cricket. He treated me like a younger brother. He told me how to fool a batsman with variations,” he is quoted as saying by NDTV.
— BCCI (@BCCI) 4 November 2017
Siraj has been included in the Indian playing XI as they take on New Zealand in Rajkot for the second T20I. The first match in Delhi was an emotional occasion as it was Nehra’s final match. India gave the veteran pacer a fitting farewell and won the first match by 53 runs. It was the first time that India had beaten the Blackcaps in a T20 match. The hosts will now be looking to seal a first series win in Rajkot.