Pacer Mohammed Siraj on Saturday said bowling consistently in the right areas without worrying about wickets was the key to his success as he produced another impressive spell in India’s series-clinching five-wicket win in the second ODI against Zimbabwe here.
Siraj, who had claimed one for 36 in the first ODI, kept the ball in the off-stump channel, troubling the Zimbabwe batters with the late swing. The 28-year-old from Hyderabad was rewarded for his consistency as opener Takudzwanashe Kaitano got an edge in the ninth over for Sanju Samson to pull off a one-handed stunner. “In West Indies and England also I bowled well, my rhythm was good in the first match as well, so my plan was to hit an area consistently without worrying whether I will get wickets or not,” Siraj, who took one wicket for 16 runs in eight overs, said in the post-match press conference.
With 40 wickets in 13 Tests, Siraj has impressed in red-ball cricket but he lacked consistency in white-ball game.
Asked if he had made any changes for white-ball cricket, Siraj said: “I just kept belief on myself, because ups and downs are part of everyone’s life, so I just kept belief that I can do it no matter if it is a white ball or red ball. “So just wanted to keep hitting the right areas and bowl dot balls to build up pressure on the opposition. Starting with the new ball, I went for wickets a few times but as you know white ball doesn’t swing much, so I was planning to consistently hit one area and bowl maiden overs.” In five T20Is, Siraj has taken just five wickets, while snapping 13 wickets in 10 ODIs.
Chasing 162 to win, India were 97 for 4 at the end of the 14th over before Sanju Samson’s unbeaten 43 off 39 balls took the visitors home with 24.2 overs left.
Asked if there was any worrying signs in the team, Siraj said: “Because the total was 160 or something. We were 100 for 4 but there was no panic in the dressing room because we needed just 40 runs after Ishan Kishan’s wicket.” Current head of the National Cricket Academy (NCA) VVS Laxman took over the role of India’s head coach for the tour of Zimbabwe with Rahul Dravid given a break ahead of the Asia Cup.
Asked about Laxman’s role, Siraj said, “Laxman sir was part of Sunrisers Hyderabad (in IPL) when I was selected for the first time. He understands my skills and gives me a lot of confidence and it feels good when a coach is around.”