The Indian squad which will face New Zealand in the three-match T20 series was announced on Monday morning, and a notable inclusion in the team is that of right arm Hyderabad fast bowler Mohammed Siraj. Mohammed Siraj who plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League has been impressive with his pace and skills. He made his first-class debut for Hyderabad in the 2015-16 Ranji season and was Hyderabad’s leading wicket-taker in the 2016-17 Ranji season with 41 scalps to his name.
Siraj also impressed while playing for India ‘A’ as he has picked up 15 wickets in seven matches that he has played for India ‘A’. Siraj, however, owes his selection in the Indian squad to Bhuvaneshwar Kumar as the two play for the same franchise in the Indian Premier League.
India’s T20I squad vs. NZ:
Siraj was over the moon after he received the selection call, he said:
“It is an unbelievable moment; It is a dream come true. Honestly, I was never expecting this call. I was always focussing on performing to the best of my ability every time I am given the chance.”
He feels that his manager Vinod Ingle is his lucky mascot for him:
“When he was the manager of Hyderabad under-23 team, I was picked for the Ranji squad and now for the Indian team, well, the Ranji Trophy performance last season (picking 41 wickets to be the lead wicket-taker for Hyderabad) was the turning point of my career. Then, the IPL performances when I was guided by so many greats including Laxman Sir (VVS Laxman). The Man of the Match performance against Gujarat Lions (4/32) in the IPL was a decisive moment of my career which gave me recognition.”
Siraj took this opportunity to thank all his coaches and people who have helped him achieve his dream:
“I am eternally grateful to Bharat Sir (former Hyderabad Ranji coach who is now with the Indian team). He was the one who gave me confidence and made me believe in myself. I must say after that Ranji season, I am a different bowler, i am comfortable in all three formats of the game. So, I am ready for the challenge of bowling in the T20 format for I believe I have the pace, the deception and the variety like bowling the slower ones, bouncers and the yorkers. Essentially, the emphasis on line and length are the key features of my bowling.”
He added, “Bhuvi bhai is another cricketer whom I adore and I owe a lot to him for being so friendly in giving me invaluable tips.”
Siraj also recalled the times when his father drove an auto for a living and the struggles he and his family had to face to achieve the dream:
“By Allah’s grace and the blessings of my parents (Mohd Ghouse and Shabana Begum), I am able to reach this far. I also thank the Hyderabad Cricket Association officials, fellow players and all the coaches who helped me in shaping my career.”