Mohammed Siraj stole the limelight during the 2023 Asia Cup Final against Sri Lanka on Sunday (September 17) at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. He recorded the figures of 6/21 to restrict Dasun Shanaka and Co. for a paltry 50 runs.
And on Wednesday (September 20), he climbed to the top of the ICC ODI Rankings for the bowlers. A week ago, he was standing in the ninth position. That marvelous spell in the Asia Cup was the reason behind Siraj reaching the top position. This was the second time this year Siraj became the No.1 bowler in ODIs.
Siraj has cemented his spot in the playing XI and did wonders for the team despite the absence of Jasprit Bumrah who couldn’t play cricket for nearly a year due to a back stress fracture. However, Siraj, who became the cynosure of all the Indian cricket fans, wanted to quit cricket after the COVID-19 lockdown.
Why did Mohammed Siraj want to quit cricket after lockdown?
Mohammed Siraj has become a force to be reckoned with in international cricket across the three formats. But according to him, he wasn’t playing well despite working hard. He revealed that though he scalped four wickets, he would also concede 40 runs and he failed to improve his figures. And during a slump in form, where the problem got compounded by negative social media comments, it affected him negatively.
“No one would have faced failures like I did,” Siraj told Gaurav Kapoor on show Breakfast with Champions on YouTube earlier this year. “I was really flustered. Despite working so hard in life I was still not doing well.”
He later said that in lockdown, he worked extremely hard, and thought that if he did well after one year, he would continue, or else he would quit. “In lockdown, I realized I’ll dedicate one year to cricket. If I play well, I’ll continue. Else I’ll quick cricket and take up some other job.”
During the 2023 Asia Cup Final, Siraj scalped four wickets in the fourth over, becoming the first bowler to do so for India. He stands fourth on the list of best figures recorded by Indian bowlers in the ODI format.
Gouri Das is a cricket writer at FirstSportz. Despite always being a sporty kid, she disliked being inactive in one place for a long time to watch a match. But after the Ind vs Pak match of the 2016 Asia Cup, she rather got glued to the TV screen. That year she watched the major cricket tournaments, WWE matches, and the Olympics (especially Usain Bolt's races). After reading about the big names in tennis and becoming an ardent follower, she dreams of visiting Wimbledon one day.
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