Consistency earns Siraj an India 'A' spot

Mohammed Siraj, 22, son of an auto driver made it the hard way into the Hyderabad Ranji squad. He was the leading wicket-taker for his team in the Ranji season with 41 scalps from nine matches. His call-up to India 'A', he thinks, will help him earn a spot in the national team.

Mohammed Siraj was Hyderabad's leading wicket-taker in the latest Ranji Trophy season.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

For Mohammed Siraj everything seems to be falling in place now. The 22-year-old pacer, who was the leading wicket-taker for Hyderabad in the Ranji season with 41 scalps from nine matches, is playing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 cricket championship after his maiden appearance in the Irani Trophy for the victorious Rest of India team.

On Tuesday, he was named in the India 'A' team to take on the visiting Australians in a three-day practice game at Cricket Club of India in Mumbai from February 16 to 18.

"I am delighted. I feel it will help me in the long run of realising my dream to play for India one day," said Siraj, son of an auto driver, who made it the hard way into the Ranji squad.

"Consistency is what I have been looking for right from the start of the season. And, I am grateful to Arun Sir (Hyderabad Ranji coach Bharat Arun) and captain S. Badrinath. They are a source of great inspiration and always backed my strengths," he said.

"My bowling philosophy is pretty simple. Stump-to-stump line is what I always look for and I feel that my deceptive bouncer is one of my strong points," he told Sportstar.

"Playing for Rest of India against Gujarat was a huge learning curve. Seeing some of the best players there I did learn a few things which should help me in looking ahead," the Hyderabad speedster said.

"Honestly, at the start of the season, I never thought I would get these kind of opportunities. But my belief in consistency is really paying me rich dividends," he added.

Siraj admires Aussie speedster Mitchell Starc.

He revealed that his pace bowling partners Ravi Kiran and Chama Milind in the Hyderabad Ranji squad have been of great help.

"The camarederie we enjoy and the way we share so many thoughts in a very competitive and friendly atmosphere is something which I really feel helped me a lot," he pointed out.

Siraj said he looked forward to improving his pace even while striving to focus on accuracy.

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