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Hyderabad’s Mohammed Siraj reveals Ashish Nehra’s role in his rise to Team India

Posted November 1st, 2017, 11:05 AM IST

Hyderabad’s Mohammed Siraj reveals Ashish Nehra’s role in his rise to Team India

New Delhi: Mohammed Siraj created a lot of buzz after the Indian Premier League side Sunrisers Hyderabad paid a whopping Rs. 2.6 crore to have him on board. The Hyderabad youngster then impressed one and all as he scalped ten wickets from six matches he played in the tenth edition of the tournament.

The son of an auto-rickshaw driver recently made it to Virat Kohli-led Indian squad after the selectors picked the right-arm pacer for the three-match Twenty20s. It is unclear whether he will play in the first Twenty20 against New Zealand at the Feroz Shah Kotla, which also happens to be Siraj’s Sunrisers’ teammate Ashish Nehra’s last match. However, Siraj said, if he is picked in the playing XI, it will be a big moment for him. Siraj also thanked Nehra for guiding him as if he is his younger brother.

"I have played with Nehra bhai at Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL 2017. He has given me a lot of tips during net sessions. The tips helped me improve my game a lot. He never made me feel that he was a player who has played 20 years of cricket. He treated me like a younger brother. He told me how to fool a batsman with variations,” Siraj told NDTV.

"Ball aise pakad, aur aise daal (Grip the ball and bowl like this). Batsmen ke footwork ko dhyaan se dekh aur fir line aur length change kario (Watch the batsman's footwork closely and change the line and length accordingly). His pep talk has helped me take my game to next level. He has told me how to read a batsman's mind,” added Siraj.

Siraj also stated that he is keen to be on the field under his favourite captain – Kohli – and the veteran pacer, Nehra.

"It needs a lot to serve 20 years to cricket. Nehra has done it. He is a legend. He deserves a fitting farewell. I am not sure whether I will play in the opening T20I or not, but If I will get a chance, it is going to be a very big moment for me. First donning India colours and sharing the same field with my favourite captain Virat Kohli and Nehra," said Siraj.

Siraj, whose father is an auto-rickshaw driver, also revealed how IPL became a turning point in his life.

"My father is an auto-rickshaw driver. He has done a lot hard work to make me a cricketer. I didn't want to let his hard work go in vain. Thankfully, I got the IPL call-up. IPL was a turning point. I am pretty good now (financially)," Siraj said before adding, "I have seen tough times in my life. My father has provided me with everything without any if or but. He wanted me to represent India someday. I am a proud son now."

The –year-old also clarified that he does not allow his father to drive auto-rickshaw anymore and also said that he did not see the India call-up coming up so soon.

"I don't let my father drive the auto-rickshaw anymore. I have asked him sit at home, relax and enjoy his life," said Siraj.

"Honestly, I didn't expect the call-up this soon. I knew that some time in future I will surely represent the country, but not this early. I can't tell you how happy I am," he said and added that his parents were “speechless” as his dream came true.

"When I told my parents, they were happy and speechless at the same time. It's a dream come true for me."