Deemed as a bowler who leaks run whenever he bowls, and rarely takes a wicket for his IPL team, Mohammed Siraj of Royal Challengers Bangalore changed the perception about him, when he came up with bowling figures of 3/8 in 4 overs against KKR in IPL 2020 recently. That's splendid figures for a bowler with an economy rate of 8.41 in T20 cricket.
In fact, he bowled 2 maidens – a record in IPL. Plus, he took 3 wickets without conceding a run. His first spell read 3 overs, 2 maidens, 2 runs, and 3 wickets. Not many people, however, know that Siraj's journey as a cricketer is a typical rags-to-riches story.
Siraj started training in cricket at the ripe age of 21 after first started playing cricket when he was in class 7. His father was an autorickshaw driver in Hyderabad and struggled to make ends meet. In fact, Siraj didn't have enough money to go to practice. He used to get Rs 70 daily as pocket money and used to spend Rs 60 on fuel to travel on his bike to practice sessions. He has had to manage his daily expenses with the remaining Rs 10.
He said in an interview that his father was extremely supportive of him and encouraged him to pursue a career in cricket, but his mother was against it as she wanted Siraj to study and achieve something big in life. But fate had other plans.
In just his second season in the Ranji Trophy, he became Andhra Pradesh's highest wicket-taker for that season, bagging 41 wickets in 9 matches. One thing led to another, and he bagged an IPL contract for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2017. In the next season, he was bagged by RCB and didn't make much impression until he found his mojo with 3/8 in the clash against KKR in IPL 2020.
He had made his international debut in 2017 but has just played 4 international games so far. However, the 3/8 has changed people's perception about him as a bowler and he's been selected in the Test team of India for the tour of Australia beginning this year itself.
Currently, his family has moved on from a one-bedroom flat to his own house. But the big question is whether Siraj can build on from here for a successful cricketing career, and complete the rags-to-riches story?