Mohammed Siraj thanks captain Ajinkya Rahane
Receiving the India Test cap prior to his debut game was the “biggest achievement” of Mohammed Siraj’s life as he thanked Ajinkya Rahane for the immense support he got from the stand-in skipper on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
The Hyderabad quick, who lost his father last month when he was already with the Indian team in Australia, claimed 2/40 on the opening day of the second Test after receiving the Test cap from off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
“When I got the cap, I felt it was the biggest achievement of my life. I gained a lot of confidence speaking with Ajjubhai (Rahane) and Jassibhai (Jasprit Bumrah),” Siraj, becoming the 298th player to play Test cricket for India, told bcci.tv.
Emphasising the role Rahane played in his success, Siraj said: “He told me to do whatever I have been doing for India A and domestic cricket. He asked me not to think too much since I was playing for India and that I should just bowl my normal stuff.
“I enjoyed a lot bowling under his captaincy. That’s because he gave me the freedom to bowl the way I wanted and set my own field.
“He also motivated me if one or two balls were not good enough. So I was getting the confidence with he being there.”
The 26-year-old from Hyderabad said he was itching to bowl for the first time in Test cricket, as Rahane eventually introduced him into the attack after the lunch break on Saturday.
“My hands were itching to get hold of the red ball, and after lunch when Ajjubhai told me to bowl, I began warming up. Then he said to me, ‘You’ll only bowl for two overs’,” Siraj said.
“(Ravindra) Jadeja was to be brought on and rightly so, because there was moisture on the wicket and it was helpful for the spinners. After lunch when I came in, it had turned into a batting wicket and my plan was to bowl as many dot balls as possible and build pressure.”