“Itna bada format hain. Swing milne ke liye aur wicket ke liye upar daal sakte hain aur ek do chauke kha sakte hain,” Siraj said while addressing the media after India’s seven-wicket win over Pakistan in the third match of the World Cup at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
He answered a question as to why he picked up the ball looking for the swing and went for a run while looking for the wicket. He then explained how he bounced back from his first two overs for 20 runs.
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Asked how he bounced back to first remove Abdullah Shafique and later Pakistan captain Babar Azam – both to cross-seam deliveries.
Asked to explain how he drew Shafique’s leg before the dismissal when the batter stuck to the crease, Siraj said: “Shafique’s wicket was as planned. I spoke to Rohit bhai. I threw a bouncer at him before, but it got stuck in the middle.’
What he didn’t say happened later.
Along with his captain, he requested that the fine-leg fielder be moved to square and a few yards inside. It gave the road the illusion that there was a second bouncer on the road.
“He thought I was going to throw the bouncer again and went on the back foot, but I bowled the ball and I succeeded,” explained Siraj.
Siraj is someone who comes across as a good reader of the pitch. He had excellent success with both the red ball and the white ball while bowling a seam pitch that leans on the seam and moves in or out.
The 2021 tour of England and the Asian Cup are prime examples. But in Ahmedabad, on a sultry but hazy day, he realized there was no movement and had to try something else to bowl the shots.
After two overs, he decided that the cross-seam bowling length was a better option.
“When I bowled the seam and jumped up, it was easy on the bat. The dough was not troubled. While I was using cross-seams, the ball sometimes stayed low and sometimes bounced.’
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Siraj comes from a humble background and respects the opportunity to play in the home world championship.
“Main bahut neeche se upar aaya hoon. I never thought that I will play in the World Cup for India. India-Pakistan matches are known for their high intensity. I just heard about it but today I experienced it too,” said the pacer.
He revealed his funny side again when asked if he was out of rhythm in the first three overs as he struggled in the last match against Afghanistan in Delhi as well.
“Hum log jab office me jaate hain tabhi bhi off day hota hain. Same performance as hota nahin. Graf upar neeche jaate rehta hain,” he said.
Besides skill, Siraj’s great strength is his spirit and confidence, which comes to the fore in his interactions.
“I keep telling myself that I can’t become a bad player overnight. I maintain high self-confidence. That’s why I recently became the #1 ranked player.”
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