Australia tour was the defining moment of my career, says Siraj

Having Virat bhai as India captain is a huge plus for me, says India fast bowler Siraj

“Old Siraj is a story of the past, you will see a new Siraj for sure,” said the confident India pacer, all set to embark on his maiden England tour with the Indian seniors team next month.

“Yes, I am more confident and mature now. Worked a lot on my line and length besides trying to improve my all-round skills as a bowler,” Siraj said in a chat with The Hindu.

“It is a great feeling to be part of this Indian team which can beat the best on their home soil. Personally, I am enjoying the kind of competition I face for a slot in such a formidable outfit,” he said.

Invaluable tips

“The best part is that all the seniors are so good and open to giving invaluable tips. This is helping me learn a lot about the art of pace bowling,” the 27-year-old said.

“It is definitely a huge challenge to come out of a bio-bubble during a long quarantine and play the big games straight away. But again, we have to be ready for these kinds of things,” said Siraj, who has picked 16 wickets in five Tests so far.

“Obviously the last Australian tour (where he spearheaded the inexperienced pace attack with aplomb to play a key role in India’s series win) was the defining moment of my career which resulted in a complete change in my attitude towards bowling,” he recalled proudly.

“Honestly, I don’t know whether I will be there in the eleven or not for the WTC final, but I am determined to bowl as well as possible in the run-up to that big game,” he said.

“Of course, if I get a chance to play, that will be the ultimate experience for me and a dream come true,” the vastly improved pacer said.

Focusing on batting

“Definitely, there is a conscious effort to improve my batting too as sometimes a crucial 20-30 runs from the tail-enders can be decisive,” he said.

“Yes, having Virat bhai as India captain is a huge plus for me. Playing under him for four IPL seasons for RCB, he trusts me, understands my bowling and knows how to get the best out of me,” Siraj said.

Asked what his big goal was, “To be a permanent member of the Indian team for a long, long time. I know what kind of struggle I had gone through after a bad 2019 IPL season to push myself back into contention,” Siraj said.

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