Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) director of cricket operations Mike Hesson has cited “solid fundamentals” as the reason for pacer Mohammed Siraj’s incisive bowling in the rescheduled fifth Test between India and England here.
Siraj was the most destructive of the five bowlers India employed against England in the first innings on Sunday, as the 28-year-old RCB bowler snared four wickets in the 11.3 overs he bowled to help the tourists restrict the Ben Stokes-led side to 284.
He took the prized wicket of Joe Root, and then wiped out the England tail, comprising Sam Billings, Stuart Broad and Matthew Potts.
“For me, Siraj had a good change of pace and a really good skillset for white-ball cricket but he had solid fundamentals behind him. You need your base skills; I think that’s where first-class cricket and Test cricket come in. He has bowled a lot of overs, so it showed that he’s fit,” said Hesson on royalchallengers.com.
Siraj was among three players retained by RCB, along with Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell, ahead of the IPL mega auction earlier this year.
“He (Siraj) had a repeatable action, so I knew what I was going to get day in and day out. And as a coach, that’s so important. He didn’t need to have his timing right for his action to work on the day and for the ball to come out right. He’d done the work in first-class cricket, he’s now doing the work in Test cricket,” added Hesson.
Siraj has been exceptional in the longest format of the game ever since he came up against the Australians in the Test series Down Under.
“If there was one format he was going to do well at the start of his international career, it was probably Test cricket. I think the meeting that Simon (Katich), myself and Virat (Kohli) had initially, where we were talking about players, Virat was really confident about Siraj and had confidence in him at the death. And on different grounds at different times, he felt Siraj had the skillset that would still give him success,” opined Hesson.
Hesson added that with his learning attitude, Siraj had made himself “hugely valuable” for RCB in the Indian Premier League.
“He’s always the guy who wants to bowl. As a captain, you genuinely want to throw the ball to someone who is saying ‘give it to me’. He’s that type of character. When we took over, the easiest thing was for Siraj to say ‘I want to bowl with the new ball and in the middle overs, I’m not so good at the death’. Because he had some tough experiences but he wanted to get better and by doing that, he’s made himself hugely valuable to our setup and to other setups as well.
“The beauty of Siraj is that he has always wanted to be in a battle. He has always wanted the ball in tough times, and not everybody does. Whether it’s bowling the long overs in Test cricket or the tough overs in T20 cricket, he’s always put his hand up. Those are the guys you want to do well,” added Hesson.