Mohammed Siraj did not get the greatest of starts in international cricket as he leaked runs in the second T20 against New Zealand in Rajkot. Played at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Siraj was employed from the second over onwards and by the time he was done, he had conceded 53 runs. However, he did open his account with the prized wicket of Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson.
Backing his fellow-seamer, Jasprit Bumrah expects the 23-year-old to come back and improve in the next game he plays. “It’s okay, it was his first game. On a difficult wicket it’s always difficult (to bowl). He’s coming into the new team, so it takes time for a bowler to adjust. He’ll learn,” said Bumrah after New Zealand registered a 40-run win to level the three-match series 1-1. “As a bowler when you get hit, you learn a lot. So I think after this experience he’ll be a better bowler when he comes into the next match,” he added.
The senior bowler Bumrah returned with figures of 0-23 even though New Zealand scored a huge 196/2 with Colin Munro top-scoring with a knock of 109 not out. Bumrah was spotted conversing with Siraj during the latter’s spell. “I was just saying that as a bowler when you get hit, you learn. It’s difficult because as a bowler, on this wicket, it was challenging and for a new guy to come in against such opposition it’s difficult,” he said.
“I was just trying to give him confidence, that it’s ok, every bowler goes for runs, you get hit. But this is how you’ll learn and you’ll come back, so I’m sure that whenever he plays more, he’ll be better than before. I think he’ll be better in the next match,” said Bumrah.
Munro proved to be the decisive factor in New Zealand’s win and the series equaliser. The bowlers didn’t have the best of time on a batsman friendly surface at the SCA Stadium. “This was a difficult wicket because when we were bowling with the new ball, it was coming on to the bat really well and
they had a good start (105-run stand between Munro and Martin Guptill for the first wicket),” he said.
“We were trying our best and Colin Munro was also going berserk and he was also a bit lucky as well because one or two catches here and there would have been different,” he said.
Munro’s impact and the final score could have been lesser but for Yuzvendra Chahal dropping the New Zealand opener off Bhuvneshwar Kumar. “In this format you are never surprised because on a given day, any batsman can give you… So he was a bit lucky as well, we dropped a few catches. I’m not taking credit away from him, he played really well. He’s done well in the CPL and all the leagues so he had a little bit of experience in that, so he played well,” the Ahmedabad-born bowler added.
Bumrah didn’t take kindly to a reporter’s question of why the team skipped practice ahead of the second T20. “We’ve been playing for a long period of time so we were having our recovery and training. We were not just sitting in the hotel and sleeping, we were training there as well. If we had won the match, the sentence (question) would have been different.”