Mohammed Siraj on red-to-white ball changes, VVS Laxman as coach and more
Fast bowler Mohammed Siraj said he focused on the right areas and was not worried about getting wickets after delivering an impressive spell in India’s decisive second-place win -Day International against Zimbabwe on Saturday.
After going 1/36 in the first ODI of the three-game series, Siraj came back with numbers of 1/16 in the second game in Harare as India won by five wickets. The right-arm pacer kept the ball in the off-stump channel and secured the wicket for fly-half Takudzwanashe Kaitano.
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“I was playing like that in the West Indies and in England,” Siraj said at the post-match press conference.
“The way I did in the West Indies with the new ball, and as it happened in the first game too, the pace was good. I had this belief that I could always hit an area whether I got a wicket or not. Just keep hitting that area.
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Siraj has impressed everyone in his Test career so far, picking 40 wickets in 13 games, and is now starting to perform regularly in white-ball cricket as well.
“I just had to trust myself,” he said. “Everyone has their ups and downs, but I just had to keep this belief that I can do it, whether it’s with the white ball or the red ball. With the white ball, the plan was to hit a single area consistently. Even if I don’t get wickets, hit that spot so there are point balls and add pressure on opponents.
Siraj added: “If I start with the new ball, in the first two overs I’m going to look for wickets. The white ball doesn’t swing as much, so in that phase when it swings, I’m going to look for wickets. When it’s not the swing, I aim for places where I can hit to get a point ball, early overs.
VVS Laxman, who heads the National Cricket Academy, has taken over the role of India’s head coach for the Zimbabwe tour, with Rahul Dravid enjoying a break ahead of the Asian Cup.
Asked about Laxman’s role, Siraj said: “He was there when I was first selected for Hyderabad. He understands my bowling skills and he gives me a lot of confidence. It’s good to have a such coach around.