Fast bowler Mohammed Siraj said he has been focussing on hitting the right areas and not worrying about getting wickets after delivering an impressive spell in India’s series-clinching victory in the second One-Day International against Zimbabwe on Saturday.
After picking 1/36 in the first ODI of the three-match series, Siraj returned with figures of 1/16 in the second game in Harare as India won by five wickets. The right-arm pacer kept the ball in the off-stump channel and got the wicket of opener Takudzwanashe Kaitano.
“I was bowling like this in West Indies and in England,” said Siraj in the post-match press conference.
“The way I did it in the West Indies with the new ball, and like how it happened in the first match too, the rhythm was good. I had that belief that I can consistently hit one area, whether I get a wicket or not. Just keep hitting that area.”
Siraj has impressed one and all in his Test career so far, picking 40 wickets in 13 matches, and is now starting to perform consistently in white-ball cricket too.
“Just had to have belief in myself,” he said. “Everyone has ups and downs but I just had to keep that belief that I can do it, be it with the white ball or red. With the white ball the plan was to just hit one area consistently. Even if I’m not getting wickets, hit that one spot so that there are dot balls and add pressure on the opponents.”
Siraj added: “If I’m starting with the new ball, in the first two overs I go for wickets. The white ball doesn’t swing as much, so in that phase when it swings I go for wickets. When it’s not swinging, I aim for the spots where I can hit to get a dot ball, maiden overs.”
VVS Laxman, who is the head of the National Cricket Academy, 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: “He was there when I was selected for the first time in Hyderabad. He understands my skill with bowling and he gives me a lot of confidence. It’s good to have such a coach around.”