Mohammed Siraj has enjoyed a rapid rise in the last couple of seasons. After starting to play cricket only in 2015, he emerged as the leading wicket-taker for Hyderabad in the 2016/17 Ranji Trophy with 41 wickets. However, the Hyderabad pacer created ripples when he was picked by Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2017 Indian Premier League for Rs 2.6 crore. Following his tenure with the franchise in the Indian Premier League, Siraj was fast-tracked into the Twenty20 Internationals against New Zealand in 2017. In his debut in the Rajkot Twenty20 International, Siraj got the all-important wicket of Kane Williamson but he proved to be expensive.
Despite having an expensive economy rate in the three Twenty20 Internationals that he has played in, Virat Kohli and the team management have kept their faith in the pacer and he was handed a debut in the Adelaide ODI against Australia, replacing Khaleel Ahmed who had conceded 55 runs in eight overs in the Sydney ODI. Looking at recent form, getting Siraj into the side might not be a bad idea.
Heading into the ODIs, Siraj performed well for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy, taking seven wickets against Punjab. He was also included in the series against New Zealand A, taking 4/59 in a rain-affected game in Hamilton. The 24-year-old is best remembered for his performances in the 2017/18 Vijay Hazare Trophy, where he picked up 23 wickets in just seven games, ending as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament. In seven games, he picked up three five-wicket hauls, including a haul of 5/37.
India are facing a must-win situation in Adelaide after losing the Sydney ODI by 34 runs. Kohli’s side are aiming to build momentum for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 and they have 12 ODIs to get their combination right. After the Adelaide ODI, India play the final ODI of their tour to Australia in Melbourne and they will play five ODIs in New Zealand followed by their final assignment at home which will be five ODIs against Australia.
The ICC Cricket World Cup will begin on May 31 in England and India’s campaign begins on June 5 against South Africa at The Rose Bowl in Southampton.