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India vs Sri Lanka: How poor IPL in 2022 motivated Mohammed Siraj to work on white-ball skills

India vs Sri Lanka: Mohammed Siraj said was focused on improving his white-ball skills after having an ordinary run in the IPL in 2022. Siraj also said he is looking forward to playing in his home ground in Hyderabad during the ODI series against New Zealand.

In Short

  • Mohammed Siraj picked up 9 wickets in 3 ODIs vs Sri Lanka
  • He has picked up 33 wickets since the start of 2022 in ODis
  • Siraj will play against New Zealand at his home ground in Hyderabad on January 18

PosterGuy: Mohammed Siraj said on Sunday, January 15 that he was determined to improve his white-ball skills after having had a forgettable Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 season with Royal Challengers Bangalore. Siraj spoke about his evolution in white-ball cricket, especially ODIs after delivering a series-winning performance against Sri Lanka in a 3-match ODI series.

Mohammed Siraj shone in the 3-match series, picking up a chart-topping tally of 9 wickets. Siraj missed out on his maiden ODI 5-wicket haul in the 3rd ODI as he finished with figures of 4 for 32. Siraj bowled 10 overs as Sri Lanka lasted just 22 overs, getting bundled out for 73 in their chase of 391 runs in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.

Siraj was lauded by captain Rohit Sharma, who said that the 28-year-old Hyderabad pacer has grown from strength to strength, especially in the last 12 months. Siraj has picked up 33 wickets in ODIs since the start of 2022 and skipper Rohit said he would be one of the key players for India in the ODI World Cup year.

Siraj was taken to the cleaners in IPL 2022 as he picked up 9 wickets in 15 matches, conceding at over 10 runs per over. Ever since, Siraj has picked up 6 wickets in T20Is, including a 4-wicket haul in New Zealand in November 2022. In the absence of Jasprit Bumrah, Siraj has emerged as the leader of India’s ODI bowling line-up, picking up wickets regularly with the new ball.

“When my IPL went bad, I thought I wanted to get better in white-ball cricket as well. I slowly started working on white-ball skills. When I did well in 1-2 ODIs, I got the confidence that I would be able to do well in LOIs,” Siraj told the press in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Hyderabad pacer, who has established himself as one of the key members in the Test side, said he has stopped focusing on the end result and is satisfied if he gets his lines and lengths right on a consistent basis.

NOT FOCUSING ON RESULTS

Siraj, who has relied on cross-seam deliveries to seed doubts in the batters’ minds, said he is focused on striking with the new ball and giving India the edge in the powerplay.

“I don’t want to focus a lot on end results. Earlier, I used to think a lot about my performance. Nowadays, I have started to realise that regardless of my performance, I want to be consistent with lines and lengths with each delivery I bowl. Then my performance slowly started to improve. Even when I don’t pick wickets, I wanted to be satisfied with bowling good lines and lengths,” he added.

“This series has gone really well. My plan was to get wickets with the new ball, and put pressure on the opposition. I didn’t mind giving a boundary or two, wickets with the new-ball can put the opposition on the backfoot.”

Siraj will next be in action in the 3-match ODI series against New Zealand, which gets underway from Wednesday, January 18.

The first of the 3-match series will be played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad, the pacer’s home ground. Siraj said he is looking forward to playing in front of his family and friends.

“It will be my first international match in home ground. I have played only IPL there. I will gain a lot of confidence, because my family and friends will be there to watch in action,” Siraj added.

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