Mohammed Siraj turns 27: A look at his journey
Indian pace spearhead Mohammed Siraj has become a household name since the 2020/21 Australian tour. The ferocious pacer starred in the absence of senior players as an injury-ravaged Team India won a historic series Down Under. He has finally found his perfect format to express himself as a fast bowler. As Siraj turns 27, we take a look at his professional career so far.
A forgettable start to limited-overs cricket
Siraj made his international debut in a T20I against NZ in 2017. He ended up conceding 53 runs in the match. He remained expensive on his ODI debut too (vs Australia, Adelaide, 2019), having conceded 76. Nearly two years later, Siraj burst on to Test cricket, the format that truly suits his bowling. In the Boxing Day Test Down Under, he scalped five wickets.
A tough phase for Siraj
Unlike most cricketers, Siraj endured a tough phase before his international career kicked-off. His father used to drive an auto-rickshaw, while his mother worked as a domestic help. Interestingly, Siraj hadn't even bowled with a cricket ball before 2015. It is understood that Siraj never took formal cricket coaching. He practised and played with canvas balls at a small ground near his house.
Siraj performed in domestic cricket
Years of hard work paid off as Siraj made a name for himself in the 2016/17 edition of Ranji Trophy. Playing for Hyderabad, the fast bowler took 41 wickets, third-most in the tournament. A year later, he picked up 23 wickets in seven Vijay Hazare Trophy games. The Hyderabad seamer also snapped up 10 wickets from five games at the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
A look at his numbers
As of now, Siraj has taken three wickets in T20Is. In Tests, he owns 16 scalps from five games, including a best match haul of 6/150. His numbers in domestic cricket are impressive as he has 168 First-class, 81 List A and 90 T20 wickets.
Siraj entered the IPL arena in 2017
After his success in the 2016/17 season, the Indian Premier League franchises were suddenly after Siraj. Siraj, who once earned Rs. 500 for a club game, grabbed a whopping deal of Rs. 2.6 crore with Sunrisers Hyderabad for the 2017 IPL edition. A year later, he was acquired by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, and has been their front-line pacer ever since.
A maiden Test call-up for Siraj
In October 2020, Siraj earned his maiden Test call-up for the Australian tour. However, as Team India began preparations Down Under, Siraj lost his father to a brief illness. The dejected fast bowler rather decided to stay back and fulfil his father's dream. He rightly converted his dejection into success as India went on to win the Boxing Day Test.
The hero who rose from the ashes!
In the last two Tests, Siraj channeled his aggression in the right space even though the Australian crowd welcomed him with racial slurs. He starred with a maiden five-for as India won the Gabba fortress, clinching the series 2-1. Siraj finished the series with 13 scalps, most by an Indian on debut Test tour Down Under. He has truly been Indian cricket's 'Gully Boy'!