IND vs SL: After a successful Test run, Mohammed Siraj continues to build his reputation in Limited-overs cricket, with the pacesetter starring in India’s record-breaking victory over Sri Lanka in Sunday’s third ODI. Siraj scored the best spell of his career with his four-wicket move that left Sri Lanka in shambles.
The 28-year-old has consistently delivered early breakthroughs for India and put pressure on the opponents. However, there was a time when he was considered a Test specialist, considering that Siraj was easy to concede in white ball cricket.
In IPL 2022, after a disappointing performance in which he managed just nine wickets in 15 games while licking runs at 10.08, Siraj started working on his bowling.
“When the IPL season didn’t go well, I started to focus on white ball cricket. I stopped worrying about how my performance would be.”
IND vs SL: Mohammed Siraj’s unpredictability
Siraj is very effective at bowling on unstable seams as his unpredictability works as an advantage.
“Neither I nor the hitters know what a wobbly seam will do to the ball. Sometimes it comes out right after the pitch, other times it snaps. Most of my gates go through the wobbly seam. I believe it works for me and works well for me,” Siraj said.
Siraj worked on the outswings after the inswings left him, but it took him some time to execute them effectively.
“Inswing used to be my natural element, but then it disappeared, so I developed an outswing. When I had no swing, I developed a wobble seam. It took me a long time to get to that point, and the more I bowled at the net, the better I got. Also, talking to Dale Stein about the outswing in the IPL was very helpful.”
Extraordinary spell of Mohammed Siraj
This time last year, India’s ineffectiveness against the new ball plagued them at the ODI. They were the world’s worst bowling team in the first 10 overs, despite Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah being in the line-up. Mohammed Siraj raised his hand to correct it.
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He made an early breakthrough in the series against Sri Lanka. In the first ODI, he got his two wickets with the new ball. In the second he picked up three. And in the third, he picked up four wickets which played a big part in giving Sri Lanka their biggest loss in ODI cricket. Overall he sacked 9 wickets (the most in the series) with an economy of 4.05. Those are great numbers, but what was even more encouraging was the way he tackled it.
Coming into his sixth year in international cricket, Siraj seems to be more aware of his strengths and weaknesses. He started out as a born inswing bowler. The next obvious step was the development of outswings. In one of the IPL seasons he picked up the brains of Dale Stein and finally started to take an outswing.
Siraj knew he needed both supplies in his arsenal to succeed at the highest levels. That led him to experiment with wobble seams. This is now his main wicket delivery. With a new ball, he first seeks momentum. But as soon as the ball stops swinging, it goes straight to the wobbly seam variant. He tilted his seams toward the right-handed hitter’s thin leg and hit the deck hard while attacking stumps.