IPL 2020: Mohd. Siraj keen to perform well to win India cap again

The fast bowler is nowadays training at a private ground in Shamshabad with the help of a couple of his Hyderabad team-mates.

Eager to play cricket again: Mohd. Siraj played the last of his four internationals for India in January, 2019.   -  V. V. Subrahmanyam

The proposed Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates this September is a window of hope for fast bowler Mohd. Siraj as he prepares to make a comeback to the national team.

Twenty-six-year-old Siraj, who has played one One-Day International and four Twenty20 Internationals for India, says he is quite keen to come up with some special performances in the IPL to earn the India cap again. Siraj is nowadays training at a private ground in Shamshabad with the help of a couple of his Hyderabad team-mates.

“Honestly, there are not telephonic discussions or any online chats with any cricketers regarding my bowling. I have been making a critical review of my bowling in the nets now after each day having a look at the videos,” Siraj explained in a chat with Sportstar on Sunday.

“I’m working a lot on my strengths - the yorkers and the back-of-a-length deliveries. I am putting in a lot of effort and it is never easy during such a long break to find the same kind of rhythm which you can afford when everything is normal,” he said.

Like for others, the COVID-19 pandemic posed difficulties for Siraj.

‘Frustrating’

“The biggest challenge for me was to be mentally fresh during the four-month long COVID-19 break. It has been really so frustrating that we cannot even go out confidently because of the virus threat. So, I was just keeping myself busy doing every small thing at home,” Siraj said.

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“Definitely, the fitness aspect is taken care of adequately as I purchased gym equipment to maintain the desired standards. I am also doing a lot of running in the mornings,” he said.

Siraj said his stint with Royal Challengers Bangalore so far offered him a lot of lessons. “Well, it has been a privilege to play for RCB led by Virat bhai (Kohli). It has been such a huge learning curve. Definitely, feel that another good season with the team in this IPL should help my cause a long way. Essentially, my target is to be good in both formats - white and red-ball cricket. I still believe Test cricket is the best and most challenging. So, I am keen to be part of Indian Test team and want to back my claim with the desired performances,” he said.

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“Definitely, not playing competitive cricket before the IPL is a different kind of challenge. But I hope to live up to the expectations as there will definitely be a preparatory camp before the event begins,” he concluded.

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