Mohammad Siraj’s success hasn’t surprised Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who says the pacer’s confidence has reached a level where he believes he can dismiss any batsman at any point in the game. The 27-year-old from Hyderabad, the youngest member of the fast bowling quartet comprising Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, took 11 wickets in the first two Tests against England.
His precise line and length and control of the ball have consistently troubled the home team’s batsmen. Siraj picked up eight wickets during the second Test at Lord’s as India won by 151 runs. Kohli said the Australia tour took Siraj’s confidence to a new level.
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Kohli said, “I am not at all surprised (by his progress) as I have seen him closely. He is a player who always had skill. You needed the confidence to back this skill, gave him this confidence in the Australia series. The captain said, ‘When he comes out on the field he knows he can get anyone out anytime and his confidence in his game has reached a new level due to which what he is doing is showing results. .’
Kohli said Siraj’s confidence has made him aggressive. “I am very happy to see him painted in his colours, he will become such a bowler who will play eye to eye and try to get players out and who is not afraid, he will not back down,” he said. Kohli also praised openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul and hoped that their good form would continue.
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Rohit has so far scored 36, 12, 83 and 21 runs in the four innings of the two Tests while Rahul has contributed 84, 26, 129 and five runs to get India off to a good start. Kohli said, “When you play on foreign soil, the combination of the opening pair is one of the most important aspects. So the way Lokesh Rahul and Rohit Sharma have done is fantastic and we hope they continue to play like that. ‘
Kohli said that the kind of wicket he got at Lord’s he expected a different wicket. “We were surprised to see the kind of pitch it was, to be honest I didn’t expect it and I thought there would be more grass,” he said. Asked if his mistakes led to the opposition captain Joe Root being under pressure, especially when he could not get India’s tail-batsmen Shami and Bumrah out in the second innings. Kohli backed Root on the issue.
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He said, ‘I don’t know what is the mindset of a person? At any stage you can go wrong with planning, it doesn’t mean you are under pressure. Kohli said, ‘You decide, which does not turn out right. As a captain, you always try to make the right decisions and I am sure he was trying to do the same.
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Siraj knows he can get anyone out anytime, not surprised by his progress: Virat Kohli