Hyderabad pacer Mohammed Siraj received a welcome surprise when he was called into the Indian team as a replacement for Jasprit Bumrah for the upcoming ODI series against Australia and New Zealand.
Siraj was pretty surprised at the call-up and hugged his parents in excitement. “I am very excited. I didn’t expect the call-up. I was numb for a few seconds and then I shouted at the top of my voice and hugged my parents. It is my maiden ODI call-up and I am really happy,” Siraj told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.
“It is my maiden call-up in ODIs. I just want to go (to Australia) and make it count. I have been waiting for this opportunity for so long. I was mentally prepared that the day I will get the opportunity, I will grab it with both hands. I am really thankful that I am able to impress the selectors. I will not let them and my fans down,” Siraj said.
Bumrah, who picked 21 wickets in the historic series win over Australia, was initially included in the Indian squad, was later rested to manage his workload.
Siraj has played 3 T20Is for India, said, “I am ready to take up the responsibility in Jasprit Bumrah’s absence. I am ready to handle the pace department. He (Bumrah) was just amazing in the Test series. He is our star bowler. There will be lots of expectations from me in his absence and I am ready for the series.”
"I spoke to Ashish Nehra sir a couple of hours after my call-up. He said go and play your natural game. He asked me to bowl fuller deliveries and in the line of the stumps. He said Australians are very good in playing cut and pull shots,” the fast bowler said.
Siraj’s call-up has shown that team management clearly feels that he is ready for ODI cricket.
(with TOI inputs)