26-year-old pacer Mohammed Siraj was breathing fire in his debut Test match while bowling against Australia in the Boxing Day Test at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Saturday. Siraj became the proud owner of India's Test cap number 298 ahead of the match after senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin did the honours.
Siraj had made the hard decision of staying with the Test squad despite the death of his ailing father back in India. BCCI had confirmed the decision in an official release, saying that Siraj had decided to continue performing his national duties.
The sacrifice was made worth it when Siraj dismissed a well set Marnus Labuschagne to scalp his first Test wicket. Later, he trapped 6 feet seven inch tall Cameron Green in front of the stumps after beautifully setting him up with his previous few deliveries to him. The Hyderabad-born also took a gorgeous looking reverse cup catch to help Jasprit Bumrah remove Mitchell Starc.
Overall, it was a debut to remember for Bumrah. After helping India end Day 1 on high, Siraj in an interview with fielding coach R Sridhar said, "Maut daal diye bhai." Siraj was replying to Sridhar after he said, "Maza aagya aapko ground me dekh kr, ekdam maut daal diye miya."
Here are the excerpts from the interview:
*On becoming 1st Hyderabad-born cricketer after VVS Laxman to debut for India
I was feeling really good. Getting the India Test cap is my life's biggest achievement. I did not get bowling till lunch. Bowlers did really well after the drinks. I liked talking with Azzu bhai (Ajinkya Rahane) because he was giving me confidence and Jasprit Bumrah was also standing besides me. He also gave me confidence.
*On getting to bowl only after the lunch break
Haatha to khuja rahe the. Azzu bhai was telling me that 'You have to come from this end'. I started warming up but he told me to wait and Ravindra Jadeja got to bowl. Then I also realised that it was good that spinners were bowling as there was moisture in the pitch. It was helpful for them. At that point I was confident and even ready to contribute in a run-out dismissal. The after lunch, the wicket had become ideal for batsmen. My aim then was to bowl dot balls and created pressure. I got a wicket also in between.
*On swinging the ball both ways in the second spell
I was close to the stump sometimes and bowled from wide of the crease on few occasions. I bowl natural in-swingers. Felt really good setting Cameron Green. I bowled few in-swingers against him and then out-swingers before bowling one into him and getting him out.