India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun has heaped praise on Mohammed Siraj, saying that the pacer has lots of hunger and resolve to improve and get better. Arun stated that he knew about Mohammed Siraj’s qualities from the day he first saw him as a net bowler at IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Mohammed Siraj finished the recently-concluded Test series in Australia as India’s highest wicket-taker. He picked up 13 wickets in three games. The right-arm pacer made his Test debut at the iconic MCG and picked up five wickets in the game, helping India thrash the hosts by eight wickets.
In the third Test, he picked up two wickets as India drew the game. By the time the fourth Test started, he had become the leader of the attack because of injuries to the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami. And Mohammed Siraj played the role of the leader with aplomb. He picked up his maiden five-wicket haul in the game as India beat Australia by three wickets to seal the series.
Bharat Arun recently spoke about Mohammed Siraj’s rise in the game. Speaking to Ravichandran Ashwin on the off-spinner’s YouTube show, the India coach said the pacer would keep calling him and ask him when his chance to play Test cricket for India would come. Arun lauded Mohammed Siraj, saying his passion and keenness to do well has always been there, right from his early days in domestic cricket.
“Siraj has the hunger and determination. He has lots of it. When I was the RCB coach, he came as a net bowler. I saw him there and told VVS Laxman during a match against Sunrisers Hyderabad that Siraj was bowling very well and that we can use him for Hyderabad. But that year he didn’t play much. In the final leg of the season, he played a few U-22 matches,” Arun said.
“When I joined as Hyderabad coach, I called Siraj and he was not in the probables. I called him and he said ‘I was not selected but I am ready to give it my all’. So when I saw him bowl again, he was very impressive. I thought his aggression was a one-time affair during his stint as net bowler. But he had the same aggression and keenness when I saw him bowl at Hyderabad,” added Arun.
Bharat Arun on Mohammed Siraj’s good quality:
Bharat Arun further revealed a different facet of the pacer’s personality. Arun said that that Mohammed Siraj responds with a smile whenever he shouts at him for not following bowling plans. The India bowling coach said he was elated for Siraj after his performances in Australia.
“I got a lot of power to whatever I wanted in Hyderabad. There is another very good quality about Siraj, he will do exactly the same way you want him to. But sometimes he strays off-plan and when that happens, I shout at him, in the sense, not to hurt him but to help him understand. He likes being scolded by me. When I scold him, he smiles at me and says “okay sir, I will follow the plan.
“He impressed for Hyderabad and went on to play for India A. But he keeps calling me after I rejoined Team India. He asks ‘Why are you not calling me, I want to play for India?’
“He played limited-overs matches for India on and off. But his self-confidence is his biggest strength and success factor. He has had a humble beginning and he has a steely resolve to come up in life” Arun added.
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