If England play Bazball in Indian conditions, the match may get over within a day-and-a-half or two: Siraj -
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If England play Bazball in Indian conditions, the match may get over within a day-and-a-half or two: Siraj 

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Mohd. Siraj. 

Khel Today Bureau 

New Delhi: India fast bowler, Mohammed Siraj, is ready for the five-Test series against England, starting tomorrow in Hyderabad.

He spoke exclusively to JioCinema about his Test debut against Australia a little over three years ago, on the contrast in his personality on and off the field, and if England will be able to successfully implement Bazball in Indian conditions. Excerpts:

On his Test debut against Australia in Melbourne in 2020 

It was a difficult time for me because my father had passed away. No one could come and meet me because we were in quarantine. I was alone. That was the most difficult phase for me. Gradually, I spoke to my family and consoled myself. It was also my dad’s dream that I play for India. I spoke to my mom, and she said I should focus on playing and fulfil my dad’s dream. I didn’t know whether I would get a chance to play because we had other fast bowlers in the side. I didn’t play the first match and made my debut in the second. The Test cap has a different value. There’s a different level of respect for Test cricket. So, making my Test debut at Melbourne, the biggest ground in the world, in a Boxing Day Test, I thought my dad would have been so happy. Somewhere, his blessings were there with me.

On whom he called first after getting the news that he would be making his debut 

I told my family that I would be playing. But I couldn’t sleep the whole night. I may have slept for an hour or so. I had also taken a sleeping pill so that I could fall off to sleep, but that didn’t help! Even with the little sleep, I was raring to go. I just wanted to go out and bowl and take wickets.

On the contrast between his attitude on the ground and off it 

As a fast bowler, I get angry when someone hits me for a boundary. I feel like breaking their helmet or getting them out off the next ball. So, I ensure that I am always fired up in the middle and make the batsman feel scared.

On adapting to different conditions and formats of the game 

I bowl with the new ball, so my line and length remain the same. I don’t change things whether it’s the white ball or the red ball. You have to bowl that length of five-six metres, because with the new ball, you have to pitch it up to get wickets. If the ball doesn’t swing, you have to adjust the length slightly. So, I try to find consistency and keep pitching the new ball at the same spot. That’s what I focus on whether it’s the new ball or the old ball. That consistency has helped me take wickets till now.

His thoughts on Bazball 

If England play Bazball in Indian conditions, the match may get over within a day-and-a-half or two. It’s not easy to hit every time here as the ball turns sometimes and straightens on other occasions. So, I think it’ll be difficult to see Bazball here. But if they play it, it’ll be good for us as the match may get over quickly.

On his preparations for the tour 

On their previous tour to India, the matches were getting over quickly. In that series (in 2021) I think I played two matches. In the first innings of one of these, I bowled five overs and took two wickets of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow. So, the aim will be to control runs in how many ever overs I bowl. If I get wickets fine, but I’ll have to stay patient and continue building pressure on the batsmen.

On playing in front of the Hyderabad crowd 

I am waiting for all our fans in Hyderabad to turn up for the game. We love them a lot and look forward to their support.

Catch all the live action from India vs England – 1st Test starting January 25, 2024, Thursday, 9:30 AM onwards, LIVE & Exclusive on JioCinema, Sports18 1 (SD +HD) and Colors Cineplex (SD+HD).

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