Siraj had a successful tour of Australia as he returned with 13 wickets from three Tests, including a fifer in the fourth Test at the Gabba. Before the series against Australia started, Siraj lost his father. But he decided to stay back in Australia to fulfill his father’s dream.
“Siraj is someone who has both the hunger and anger. When I saw him in Hyderabad, in fact, I saw him when I was with RCB when he came as a net bowler. At that time, I went and told VVS Laxman during our game against Sunrisers that the kid is bowling really well. I asked him he still has not played for Hyderabad right? You can use him, right? He nodded but he did not play much that year,” Arun told Ravichandran Ashwin on the latter’s YouTube channel.
“When I went as Hyderabad coach, I called Siraj again. He was not even in the probables then. When I saw him bowling again, it was even more impressive. I thought it was a one-time thing with this pace and aggression that I saw in the nets. But when I called him again, he had the same passion, intent and he bowled exactly the way I had seen earlier. When I went to Hyderabad as a coach, they gave me full power. So I told that this kid should definitely play,” he added.
Further complimenting Siraj, Arun said: “Another striking feature with Siraj is, if we tell him something to do, he will do that exactly the way he has been asked to. Of course, he will try his own experimentations, and I will shout at him when he does that. To make him understand, I will shout at him. When I came to the Indian team, he asked me ‘Sir when will you call me? He got selected and played few games for India in the white-ball format. He was on and off. His biggest strength is his own confidence in himself. That’s his biggest success factor.”
Arun also revealed that head coach Ravi Shastri shouts at him every time a bowler concedes a boundary.
“He (Ravi Shastri) will follow the match from the dressing room. But he absolutely hates it when a bowler concedes a boundary. He doesn’t want bowlers to concede a run. That’s what he wants. When we bowl, we should keep on taking wickets. And when they are bowling, we should keep on scoring runs. If someone concedes two boundaries, he will shout. If someone concedes a boundary, I know that I am going to be shouted at,” said Arun.
India had lost the first Test against Australia at Adelaide after being bowled out for 36. After that, skipper Kohli also returned home as he was granted paternity leave by the BCCI. Ajinkya Rahane stepped in as the skipper and what happened in the remaining three Tests was nothing short of a miracle.
Rahane’s side went on to win in Melbourne and Brisbane and as a result, the side won the series 2-1. In between, there was a famous draw in Sydney as well.
“When it comes to Ajinkya, he is a calm person. Rahane might look calm from the outside but there is a steely nerve in him. He backs players and looks calm and even if a bowler goes wrong, he might not be scared of the captain. He knows that he will be backed. With Virat Kohli, if you bowl two bad balls, it might look like he will get angry, but that’s just his energy. Ajinkya brings the calmness, of course, even if he buys-in the plan, he makes sure he executes it,” said Arun.