Fitness and mental strength surely plays an important role in any player’s emergence at the biggest stage for sure. And, former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra feels many bowlers have had a bittersweet relationship with the NCA and physiotherapists. So the 42-year-old veteran, who himself went through various injury-stricken phases, talked about how physical competency helps a bowler grow in his career.
While speaking on this particular topic, Nehra, however, hailed Mohammed Siraj, as he addressed him as someone who hasn’t had a tryst with injuries so far. Nehra also added that the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) seamer has a “hunger” to succeed. Siraj, the 27-year-old Hyderabad pacer was retained by RCB ahead of the mega-auction of the upcoming season, and as a result, the players retained by the Bangalore outfit included — Siraj, Virat Kohli, and Glenn Maxwell.
In his brief stint in India whites, Siraj has definitely shone in order to become an integral part of the Test bowling unit. Since he made his Test debut at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) during India’s historic series Down Under, Siraj picked up 33 wickets in 11 games including a fifer. Nehra, while talking about Siraj, also highlighted a few reasons behind Siraj’s staggering amount of success in such a short period of time.
Nehra said that as Siraj was in his RCB team and also in the Sunrisers Hyderabad team while he was the coach, he knew about Siraj and his skills very well. “He was with me at RCB when I was the coach. He also was in the team when I was at SunRisers Hyderabad. I always knew that he had the skills. Talking about the skillset, it also depends on the player… how he hones his skills and fitness levels.” he said.
Nehra shared that Siraj is different from other players as he has the pace and athletic body, because of which he never struggled with fitness. “He had the pace, swing, and an athletic body too. We see many players doing the rounds of the NCA and visiting the physios after struggling with fitness. But Siraj wasn’t that sort of a player. He stepped into the IPL after playing Ranji and has never looked back,” Nehra said on Cricbuzz after rain played spoilsport on Day 2 of the ongoing Boxing Day Test.
Nehra further added about Siraj’s strong mentality and also about his hunger to play. He shared that Siraj used to get upset if his name was not mentioned in the XI’. And in RCB, he would get better with every match he plays. He said, “Siraj has made the most of it. He’s mentally strong as well and has that hunger to play. He used to get upset when his name was not there in the XI. When he was at RCB, he would eagerly wait to perform and get better with every match. That speaks volumes about his character.”
As Ashish Nehra knows Mohammed Siraj very well from a long time, the former Indian pacer appreciated Siraj while talking about him with Cricbuzz. As he was the coach of the team in which Siraj was a member, Nehra knows very well about Siraj’s skills and the hunger to play more and give his best everytime.
Siraj is currently a part of the Indian bowling attack, which can be said as one of the finest in the country’s cricketing history. He will team up along with Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami as India look to get 20 wickets in the next three days in Centurion. India were sitting pretty at 272 for 3 after day one, as KL Rahul scored an unbeaten 122 off 248 balls on the opening day.