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Kohli & Dhoni Spend Time With All Bowlers Individually: Siraj

Devadyuti Das |Cricketnext | Updated: March 4, 2019, 8:45 AM IST
Kohli & Dhoni Spend Time With All Bowlers Individually: Siraj

Source: AFP

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Mohammed Siraj is the proverbial ‘slow starter’ which is surprising considering the fact that he is a tearaway fast bowler. For a man who didn’t start playing cricket seriously till the age of 20 in Hyderabad, Siraj had a meteoric rise and found his way through to the Indian team.

The Hyderabad speedster was picked as a replacement for Jasprit Bumrah for the limited-overs series in Australia and New Zealand last month. Although he made an appearance in a solitary ODI (in Adelaide), the youngster came back with a bagful of experience from the twin tours which he is now utilizing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament.

“I had big shoes to fill of Bumrah. It’s was disappointing just to play in only one ODI, but I learned so much from taking part in the training sessions. I am feeling and bowling well and it is good to perform in the domestic circuit coming back from my stint with the Indian team,” Siraj told CricketNext.

Siraj has hit his straps in the domestic T20 tournament, claiming 4/20 against Services at the Palam ground in New Delhi on Thursday in a Group E fixture that Hyderabad lost. “Fitness is good and this tournament is ideal preparation for the IPL,” he said.

The 24-year-old has only had a few seasons of first-class cricket so far after bursting on to the scene in the 2016-17 season with 41 wickets for Hyderabad. The Ranji Trophy haul got him in the IPL franchise owners’ radar and he was picked by Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2017.

Since then he has moved on to Royal Challengers Bangalore under Team India skipper Virat Kohli. “The biggest lesson was learning how to bowl on smaller grounds of New Zealand, about which I got a lot of tips in the nets. We have to play in a lot of small grounds in the IPL as well and the things I learned in New Zealand will be very helpful.

“The white ball doesn’t swing much normally, so it was a learning process as the balls moves for only 3-4 overs. It is important to maintain a good line and length on those surfaces,” he said.

Siraj

Being part of the Indian team set-up have helped Siraj develop as a speedster, that just relying on sheer pace.

“Kohli and (MS) Dhoni backed me throughout on these tours. They provided useful tips in the practice sessions there like how to bowl in different situations, which areas to bowl and what type of yorkers to bowl.

“They (Kohli and Dhoni) spent time with all bowlers individually. Coaches (Bharat) Arun and Ravi (Shastri) sir’s inputs were also very good. They told me to bowl in the nets like I would bowl in match conditions and that helped me get a lot of focus. They instructed me not to try experiment too much, just bowl back of a length as much as possible,” the RCB paceman added.

Joining RCB last season has helped Siraj work on his bowling with coach and former India paceman Ashish Nehra.

“Nehra’s help is very important for me. He has helped me deal with my recent disappointments as he has handled those ups and downs in international cricket in his career. I am looking forward to meeting him again at the RCB camp and continue our interactions this season,” Siraj said.

Finally, on playing under Kohli in the IPL franchise, he said, “Playing under Virat in RCB is great experience. He is such a great batsman, he gives great insights to me how a batsman thinks at the crease and how to bowl at different stages.”
First Published: March 4, 2019, 8:07 AM IST
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