IPL disappointment last year behind my success in white-ball cricket in new year: Siraj

PTI, Jan 16, 2023, 11:09 AM IST

India pacer Mohammed Siraj has said the disappointment of not being able to perform in the previous edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) pushed him to focus more on white-ball cricket, which is paying rich dividends now.

The 28-year-old bowler returned with superb figures of 4 for 32 from his 10 overs to bundle out Sri Lanka for 73 in 22 overs as India won the match by a massive 317 runs here on Sunday.

Siraj, who was retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) ahead of the 2022 season, had only nine wickets in 15 matches with an economy of more than 10 runs per over.

Siraj said the transformation has come about because he started focussing on the execution of line and length in white-ball cricket following the 2022 IPL disappointment.

”When the IPL season went bad for me, I started focussing on white-ball cricket. I worked on it and grew in confidence. I stopped worrying about how my performance would go which was not the case earlier. I started focussing only on execution of line and length.” Siraj also said the beauty of bowling with a wobbled seam lies in its unpredictability. So much so that he even doesn’t know how much the ball will do after pitching. Siraj has been reaping the benefits of bowling with a wobbled seam since he discovered the art in 2018. He picked up nine wickets in the ODI series against Sri Lanka, providing India the much needed wickets with the new ball.

”With wobbled seam, how much the ball will do neither I know nor the batter. Sometimes it goes straight after pitching other times it can come in sharply. Most of my wickets come through wobbled seam. It is effective for me and I trust it to work for me,” said Siraj after the third ODI.

The skilful pacer said he used the wobbled seam after his natural inswinger deserted him.

”Inswing was my natural earlier but then it stopped so I also developed outswing. When I did not have the inswing, I developed the wobbled seam. It took a lot of time to get effective and give me confidence. The more I bowled in the nets, the better I got. In the IPL, I spoke to Dale Steyn as well for outswing which helped me a lot.” Talking about the Sri Lanka series, he said his plan was simple. ”The plan was to take early wickets and put pressure on the opposition.” Siraj is now looking forward to playing at his home ground on January 18 when India take on New Zealand in the first ODI. ”It would be nice to play at the home ground with my family, coaches and friends watching me,” he added.

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