Team India have been enjoying an incredible run in the 50-over format on home soil, sparking hopes for a positive outcome in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup, which India will host later this year. Rohit Sharma and Co. registered their second consecutive ODI whitewash in their own backyard on Tuesday by defeating New Zealand 3-0 in the three-match opera. Opener Shubman Gill who can definitely be said to be standing at the peak of his form is mostly credited for the series victory.
After his record-breaking double-century in the opening game, the 23-year-old once again stole the show in the final ODI with a centurion knock. While Gill is the talking point among the majority of the Indian cricket fraternity, former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar referred to pacer Mohammad Siraj whose contribution, according to the full-time cricket pundit, has somehow got overshadowed by the batter’s performances.
In the absence of star pacer Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj has been taking up the mantle of Indian fast bowling. He was given the responsibility of the new ball during the New Zealand series and looked comfortable in that role. His lethal pace unquestionably turned out to be a great challenge for the Kiwi batting unit. Though he was rested in the third ODI, in his first two appearances, the right-arm quick managed to bag as many as five wickets.
Speaking on Star Sports after Tuesday’s game, Sanjay Manjrekar highlighted the “phenomenal” rise of Siraj in recent times and termed him “a complete seam bowler.” According to him, the bowler should be equally credited as Shubman Gill for India’s dominating win against the Black Caps.
As a reason, the ex-India batter explained lauding the 28-year-old, “Shubman Gill may have got a double hundred and a hundred. But when you look at the quality and against the toughest opposition in the world, in a big pressure match, Mohammed Siraj is somebody that India have found. He will be there when the team needs him. He was hardly mentioned in the post-match show. Hardik was talked about. When I have to look at one player who is promising a lot and whose growth has been phenomenal.”
Furthermore, Manjrekar seemed hopeful about Siraj continuing his performance in all formats and stated, He looks like a complete seam bowler at the moment. That says a lot about any performer and not just this format, in T20Is and Tests as well.”
Making his debut in the Blue jersey in 2019, Siraj has already made his name in world cricket. He has found his place in ICC’s ODI Men’s Team of the Year for 2022 owing to his sky-high form in the previous calendar year. He played 15 matches last year and fetched 24 scalps at an impressive average of 23.50 with his best spell being 3/23. Along with Siraj, India batter Shreyas Iyer has also been included in the eleven for his commendable consistency in the 50-over format.