Mohammad Siraj, a renowned name in Indian cricket nowadays was born in Hyderabad on 13th March in 1994 in a poor family. His late father Mohammad Ghaus was an auto driver in Hyderabad and his mother Shabana Begum is a house wife. Siraj’s childhood was full of hurdles due to the poor financial condition of his family. The strange thing is Siraj never went to any cricket coaching center before playing first-class cricket for Hyderabad. He is a real instance of a self-made player. He used to play tennis ball cricket on the streets, he even bunked his classes to play cricket. But Siraj never thought of playing professional cricket but it was his elder brother Mohammad Ismail who told him he can play at the highest level. Before playing for Hyderabad, he played for Charminar Cricket Club there. He performed really well there and paved his way to the state team of Hyderabad. Let’s go discuss the rise of Mohammad Siraj in brief.
Siraj made his first-class debut for Hyderabad in 2015. He played only one match and returned with 1/108 in 34 overs. The second Ranji season of Siraj was magical. Siraj bowled at a pace of above 135 in the whole Ranji season and with his sharp in-swing and bounce, he bagged 41 wickets in 9 matches as the third-highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy 2016-17. His stupendous performance helped him to reach the quarter-finals in the 2016-2017 Ranji season. In the 2017-18 Vijay Hazare Trophy, Siraj was the highest wicket-taker, 23 wickets in 7 matches with an impressive average of 15.65, including three 5 wicket hauls. He even shined in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy with 10 scalps in 5 matches. Mohammad Siraj was even a part of the Deodhar Trophy 2018-19 and 2019-20.
After playing the first IPL season Siraj fascinated the selectors with his raw pace and secured a place in the T20 series against New Zealand. He made his international debut against New Zealand at Rajkot. His first day in international cricket was devastated, his bowling figure was 1/53 in 4 overs. But the only positive thing for the 23 years old was Kane Williamson’s wicket. Siraj was also a part of India in the Nidhas Trophy in 2018, which was played in Sri Lanka. Things were not good for Siraj, he only got 1 wicket for 50 runs in 4 overs against Bangladesh. BCCI selected Siraj for the tests against West Indies also but couldn’t cement a place in any of the matches. The ODI debut arrived in Australia for Siraj at Adelaide Oval in the 2nd ODI but it was a match to forget as he conceded 76 runs in 10 matches without taking any wicket. His poor performance also kept him out of the action in national jersey for a long time.
The Turning Point In International Cricket
After the IPL 2020, India traveled to Australia for 3 ODIs, 3 T20s, and 4 Tests. During the IPL Siraj’s father was sick and hospitalized also. Siraj got the tragic news of his father’s death during the tour, he couldn’t even attend the funeral of his father due to Covid-19 protocols in India. Siraj cried a lot in the hotel room after his father’s death but Captain Virat Kohli and all the teams supported him in his tough time. Siraj remained mentally tough and worked tirelessly in the practice seasons. India lost the 1st match against Australia at Adelaide and got humiliated as India was all out for 36 runs in the 2nd innings. In the first test, one of the main bowlers Mohammad Shami got injured and ruled out for the rest of the series. In the 2nd test match at MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), Siraj got a place in the playing xi ahead of Navdeep Saini. Siraj didn’t let the team down and bowled exceptionally well in the match. He picked up 2/40 & 3/37 in the 1st and 2nd innings apiece, it was a dream test debut for Mohammad Siraj. His first test wicket was Marnus Labuschagne. Siraj bagged 2 wickets in the 2nd match also. But the best was yet to come, in the absence of injured Jasprit Bumrah led the pace attack like an experienced bowler and ripped through the Australian batting line up in the 2nd innings of the final test at Gabba, 5/73 in 19.5 overs. In total, he got 6 wickets in the match and ended the series as the highest wicket-taker for India 13 wickets in 3 matches. India won the historic series by 2-1. This serious was the turning point of his career as he became a completely different bowler afterward. India played the next international series against England in India. He got to play 2 matches there and grabbed 3 wickets. He didn’t have to bowl there as the wickets were spinning square. Siraj has been named in India’s squad for the tour of England in June.
Siraj’s incredible run (41 wickets) in the Ranji Trophy rewarded him a place in IPL 2017, Sunrisers Hyderabad bought him for 2.6 cr. SRH had to fight hard in the auction to pick him in their house from the base price of 20 lakhs. SRH coach Tom Moody was very captivated by his outstanding inswing and bounce with pace. In his first IPL season in 2017, Siraj bagged 10 wickets in 6 matches. He bowled at an average speed of 140 in the tournament. His aggressive attitude in 2017 helped him to get a place in the next IPL season in 2018, Royal Challengers Bangalore bought him for a whopping amount of INR 2.6 cr. Initially, Siraj didn’t get a chance to play matches but after 3 matches Siraj played 11 matches and had 11 scalps. It was also an ordinary season for him. Still, RCB showed faith in him and retained him for the next season also. But the 2019 IPL season was not decent for him as he managed to take 7 wickets in 9 matches. His economy rate was above 9. Siraj got smacked all over the ground throughout the tournament and was being criticized also for his poor bowling. He improved his bowling a bit which helped him to reduce economy rate to 8.68. Siraj took 11 wickets in 9 matches in the 2020 IPL, which was held in UAE. The best IPL of Siraj’s career has been IPL 2021 till now, he has really improved as a bowler after the Australia tour. He has bagged 6 wickets in 7 matches so far in IPL 2021 and his economy rate 7.34. A massive change has been seen in terms of line, length, and yorker bowling ability. Siraj has bowled the 2nd most number of dot balls (74) in the 2021 IPL so far.
Hopefully, Siraj will make India proud in the upcoming time also with his excellent inswing and yorker bowling. Siraj is now an important part of the Indian cricket team. The rise of Mohammad Siraj is now an inspiration to all because after losing his father he stayed mentally strong and improved his game a lot. It’s a lesson for all the young athletes out there no matter what, a dedicated and hardworking person will thrive anytime in their career. After all, during the 2020 IPL Siraj said-“My father wants me to make my country proud”. Siraj’s father must be smiling right now as he has made India proud already in Australia and will continue to do so in the future.
Senior Cricket Content Editor at Skyblogs Cricket.
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