The dream of Hyderabad’s rookie pacer Mohammed Siraj finally came true on Saturday, when he made his debut for India in the second T20 international of the ongoing series against New Zealand.
Born to his parents Mohammed Ghaus and Shabana Begum, Siraj came to limelight with his scintillating performance in the 10th season of Indian Premier League (IPL). And it was not just after the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise roped in the pacer with a whopping INR 2.6 crore, but also because he lived up to the expectations finishing off the campaign with 10 wickets in six matches. Well, it did include a stunning four-wicket haul against Gujarat Lions that helped the former champions qualify for the playoffs.
The 23-year-old’s father is an auto driver, whereas his brother is a software engineer working in a good IT firm.
It was at the age of seven that Siraj fell in love with the gentlemen’s game. Back then, it was mere bunking classes to play tennis-ball cricket. Later in 2015, he picked up the red ball and bagged quite a few five-wicket hauls. He soon got a call-up for Hyderabad’s Under-23 side and then the senior team and finally for Ranji.
In the 2016-17 season, the pacer scalped 41 wickets at an average of 18.92 as he became the third-highest wicket-taker in the campaign after Shahbaz Nadeem and Anupam Sanklecha, and what followed next was a maiden IPL season.
He then received a call for the India A series against South Africa where he continued with his brilliancy picking up 10 wickets. Recently, he played against New Zealand A where he picked up four wickets in three matches. Overall, he has played 16 T20 matches, picking up 26 wickets at an average of 18.73.
“I knew that some time in future I will get a call-up but did not expect it this soon. I can’t tell you how happy I am. When I told my parents, they were speechless. It’s a dream come true,” said Siraj in an interview to PTI.
“Whatever I am today is primarily because of Ranji Trophy performance. My 40-odd wickets last season gave me the confidence. There’s nothing like getting wickets in first- class cricket. I was picked for Rest of India after that and because of Ranji Trophy, I got the IPL deal. So 60 per cent credit for this call-up is a performance in first-class cricket,” he added.