Mohammed Siraj,Washington Sundar use IPL as launchpad for Test career
Virat bhai bole, miyan, ready ho jao (he told me to get ready),” he told teammate Navdeep Saini with a glint in the eye and excitement in his voice. Siraj became the wrecker-in-chief that night as RCB blew Kolkata Knight Riders away for 84. “I was just so excited that I got the new ball. I last got it in my first year (2017) for SRH (Sunrisers Hyderabad),” he said in that chat on IPL website.
Bowling with the hard new ball on a helpful surface is as far as luxuries go for fast bowlers in T20 cricket. “Virat bhai’s plan was to use bouncers,” said Siraj, who turns 27 on Saturday. “But my outswingers were working in the nets, so in my run-up I thought ‘let’s try to pitch it up’.” The change in plan resulted in Siraj getting three KKR top order batsmen.
IPL may have given Siraj a way out of poverty, but bowling length, getting the ball to come in, getting it to go away from batsmen and playing with their patience is his forte. Test cricket allows him to do that, which is why he has taken to long form cricket like a duck to water.
Arun, back in 2016 working as Hyderabad Ranji coach spotted Siraj in the nets, and was impressed with his hunger and desire to succeed. After taking one wicket at an average of 108 in his first Ranji Trophy season (2015), Siraj got 41 wickets in the next, the second best returns for a fast bowler. After that he has played in many India A series under the guidance of Rahul Dravid—home and away, bowling with the red ball to South Africa, England, New Zealand and West Indies.
When Siraj made his debut in Australia last December, one knew he belonged just the way he set up Cameroon Green—away, away, nip-backer. He did the same to England skipper Joe Root in the fourth Test at Ahmedabad. He hurried Steve Smith to glove a short ball at Brisbane and lured a hamstrung David Warner to poke at wide deliveries.