India’s star pacer Mohammed Siraj credited his five-wicket haul on a flat track to the team’s Strength and Conditioning coach Soham Desai and stated that he accepted the challenges presented to him. Siraj has been playing Test cricket for just over two years. It is a credit to his development that India’s team management chose him to lead a fairly inexperienced fast bowling squad on their maiden foreign assignment in the new World Test Championship cycle, while Shami and Jasprit Bumrah rested and rehabilitated back home.
On Sunday, Siraj demonstrated why team management gave him the responsibility and why he enjoys difficulties. On a surface with little for the seamers, the 29-year-old hit brilliantly and returned with his career-best figures of 5 for 60 on a calm track.
“It is not easy to take five wickets on a flat track. Credit goes to Soham (Desai) bhai, who has worked tirelessly on my fitness. I have been playing matches continuously and he makes sure that I stay fit. It was hot and humid and because of the rain, we were going on and off the field, it is difficult for a fast bowler to keep himself in charge. It is not easy to bowl long spells in such condition also,” Mohammed Siraj said after the end of Day four’s play.
“I executed my plan nicely, especially when it started to reverse. There was nothing much happening, so I planned to bowl stumps to stumps. Plan was simple to not give them easy runs and keep things simple. I relish responsibilities. To step in on the field with a responsibility on my shoulders gives me extra motivation and it is challenging as well and I like to accept challenges,” he said.
India set a total of 365 runs for West Indies to win the ongoing second Test, and the hosts lost two wickets in the final session of Day 4 in Port of Spain. At the end of the day’s play, WI was at 76/2, with Tagenarine Chanderpaul (24*) and Jermaine Blackwood (20*). Siraj praised two other Indian players: debutant Mukesh Kumar, who grabbed his first wicket, and Ishan Kishan, who hit a 34-ball 52 for his first Test fifty.
“Mukesh is not a new player. He has done well in the Ranji Trophy on difficult wickets. It is not easy to take wickets in the Ranji Trophy because most of the time you play on the flat wickets. He has controlled his nerves exceptionally well and he executed his plans beautifully,” said Siraj.
“Ishan is an aggressive batter. With no Rishabh Pant in the team, Ishan is someone who can fill his shoes. He has got the ability to hit the big shots. He was given a free pass to go and attack the bowlers. We wanted to get runs quickly and Ishan was our go-to man,” Siraj said on Ishan’s blistering knock.
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