The rise of Mohammed Siraj has been one of India’s most positive cricketing stories over the last six to seven months. In the absence of senior bowlers in Australia, the right-arm fast spearheaded the bowling attack and returned as the highest wicket-taker for India Down Under. As India embarks on a three and a half month tour of England, the pacer spoke about his growth, the camaraderie in the team and the defining tour to Australia.
Siraj has seen a dramatic change in his bowling and stated that he has worked hard on the basics.
“Yes, I am more confident and mature now. Worked a lot on my line and length besides trying to improve my all-round skills as a bowler. Old Siraj is a story of the past, you will see a new Siraj for sure," quoted Siraj as India is set to leave for England on the 2nd of June.
Siraj said the Indian team boasted of world-class fast bowlers and the competition was healthy. He said it is a great learning picking on some useful tips from the experienced quartet of fast bowlers.
“It is a great feeling to be part of this Indian team which can beat the best on their home soil. Personally, I am enjoying the kind of competition I face for a slot in such a formidable outfit. The best part is that all the seniors are so good and open to giving invaluable tips. This is helping me learn a lot about the art of pace bowling."
Siraj reiterated that the Australian tour completely transformed him as a bowler.
“Obviously the last Australian tour was the defining moment of my career which resulted in a complete change in my attitude towards bowling,” said Siraj.
He spoke about the challenges of moving in bio-bubbles but added that it was the new norm and everyone had to accept the reality. He further said that if given a chance he will make the most of it on the tour to England.
“It is definitely a huge challenge to come out of a bio-bubble during a long quarantine and play the big games straight away. But again, we have to be ready for these kinds of things. Honestly, I don’t know whether I will be there in the eleven or not for the WTC final, but I am determined to bowl as well as possible in the run-up to that big game,” he added.
Siraj praised the leadership of Virat Kohli under whose mentorship he has also seen himself grow as a bowler not only for India but also for the RCB. His ultimate dream is to be a permanent member of the Indian XI and win matches for his country.
“Yes, having Virat bhai as India captain is a huge plus for me. Playing under him for four IPL seasons for RCB, he trusts me, understands my bowling and knows how to get the best out of me. I want to be a permanent member of the Indian team for a long, long time. I know what kind of struggle I had gone through after a bad 2019 IPL season to push myself back into contention,” concluded Siraj.