Known for his lethal toe-crushing yorkers, 26-year old Mohammed Siraj is an Indian right arm fast bowler. Siraj was born on 13 March 1994 in Hyderabad and for someone who is self-taught, his rise in the Indian cricket arena has been remarkably swift.
Siraj is a son of an auto rickshaw driver and his childhood was full of hardships due to family's low income. He never went to a cricket academy or had a coach. Smitten by cricket, he used to play street cricket with a tennis ball and often bunked classes to play.
In 2015, Siraj went to the nets at the Charminar Cricket Club on a friend's invitation and impressed everyone. He took five wickets in a match and soon his hard work paid dividends as he was named as a probable in the state's U-23 side.
He then played for the senior zonal side and continued working hard. Siraj made his first-class debut for Hyderabad on 15 November 2015 in the Ranji Trophy and played only one game. Siraj played only one game in his debut first class season and had to wait to get more opportunities.
In the 2016 Ranji Trophy, he performed exceedingly well as Hyderabad made the quarter finals. Siraj ended up being the highest wicket-taker for Hyderabad and third leading wicket-taker of the 2016 Ranji Trophy, taking 41 wickets in nine matches at an impressive average of 18.92. He was then picked to play for the Rest of India team and good performances resulted in him being included in the India A squad to tour South Africa in July 2017.
In February 2018, he was the leading wicket-taker in the 2017–18 Vijay Hazare Trophy, with 23 dismissals in seven matches. In October 2018, he was named in India A's squad for the 2018–19 Deodhar Trophy. In October 2019, he was named in India B's squad for the 2019–20 Deodhar Trophy.In 36 first class matches, Siraj has taken 147 wickets at an average of 23.00
Also, he has taken 81 wickets at 23.37 in 41 List A matches. In the T20 format, he has taken 79 wickets in 58 matches at an average of 22.54 with an economy of 8.44.In the summer of 2022, Siraj signed up with English County, Warwickshire, for a short stint. He went on to play just 1 championship game, where he took 6 wickets (against Somerset).
The amazing performances in Ranji Trophy resulted in him being roped by Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad for a whopping Rs. 2.6 crore which was 13 times his base price. In 2017 IPL, he played six matches and picked 10 wickets at an average of 21.2, with the best performance of 4/32.
A deceptive slower ball and a natural in-swinger make him an effective limited overs bowler. After being released by SRH, the Royal Challengers Bangalore think-tank saw enough potential in the youngster and bought him at the IPL 2018 Player Auction for INR 2.20 cr.He played 11 matches that season and took 11 wickets. The 2019 season was bit dull for him and he will be hoping to make a comeback in the 2020 season.
Despite his poor returns in the 2019 season, Siraj was retained by RCB in the 2020 mini-auction. He repaid the faith as he thrived in the helpful UAE conditions. In 9 games, the pace spearhead claimed 11 wickets @ 21.45/8.68.
Siraj dished out another decent season in 2021- 11 wickets in 15 games @ 32.09/6.78- and was eventually retained by RCB alongside Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell for a whopping INR 7 crores ahead of the IPL 2022 mega-auction.
However, the Hyderabad cricketer had a season to forget as he could only manage 9 wickets in 15 innings at 57.11 apiece while conceding 10.08 runs per over.
After impressive performances in domestic cricket, Siraj was included in India's T20I squad to play against New Zealand. He made his T20I debut against New Zealand in November 2017 and took his maiden T20I wicket with Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson. He ended up with figures of 4-0-1-53. Since then, he has played only two more T20Is and taken two more wickets.
Following his decent exploits in the 2020 and 2021 IPL in UAE conditions, Siraj earned a recall to the T20I set-up in November 2021 during a home series against the same opposition he'd made his debut all those years ago- New Zealand.
He conceded 39 runs and claimed 1 wicket, but with other seamers ahead of him in the pecking order, Siraj could add just 1 more cap to his tally- vs Sri Lanka- before the 2022 IPL.
A poor IPL season meant he slipped further in the pecking order, and it was only because of injuries to Jasprit Bumrah and the unavailability of Mohammed Sham that Siraj was integrated back in the set-up- against South Africa in October 2022.
Siraj was one of the contenders to replace the injured Jasprit Bumrah in India's T20 World Cup 2022 squad but was ultimately pipped by Mohammed Shami.
In December 2018, he was named in India's ODI squad for their series against Australia. He made his ODI debut against Australia at the Adelaide Oval on 15 January 2019. He couldn't pick any wicket in the match but India won the match by 6 wickets, courtesy a stellar Virat Kohli century.
After spending 3 long years in wilderness, Siraj returned to the ODI set-up in February 2022 during a home series against the West Indies.
With his ability to generate sharp movement in the air and off the surface coupled with his pinpoint yorker, Siraj has given quite a decent impression of himself as an ODI bowler.
In 12 games that he has played in 2022, Siraj has claimed 18 wickets at 24/4.45, and the right-arm seamer was recently adjudged 'Player of the Series' for his breathtaking spells- both in powerplay and at the death- against South Africa.
Mohammed Siraj earned his maiden Test call-up in late 2020 for India's tour of Australia after senior pacer Ishant Sharma got ruled out due to injury.
But, as he landed in Australia in November, tragedy struck home as the right-arm seamer lost his father.
However, Siraj decided to stay back with with the squad, and eventually made his debut during the Boxing Day Test after Mohammed Shami got ruled out due to a fracture in his bowling hand.
Siraj made an immediate impression as he claimed 5 wickets in two innings as India won the match by 8 wickets.
His biggest test came in just his 3rd game at the Gabba when he was asked to lead the bowling attack after the quartet of Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja joined the ever-growing injury list.
But, Siraj rose to the occasion big time as he claimed his maiden five-wicket-haul in Australia's 2nd innings to set-up a historic series win for Team India.
Siraj finished the series with 13 scalps in 3 games, and just like that, a star was born. His next impressive performance came during the final day of the Lord's Test in August 2021 as he knocked over 4 batters, including Jos Buttler and N0.11 James Anderson to seal a 151-run win for the Virat Kohli-led outfit.
Siraj's Test returns since Lord's have been midling. While he fared decently at home, the right-arm seamer struggled for control with the soft Dukes ball during the 2022 Edgbaston Test against England and was clobbered by the likes of Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root, while his South African sojourn last winter ended midway through the 2nd Test in Johannesburg, after he picked up a hamstring injury.
Mohammad Siraj’s family isn’t financially well-off; his father drives an auto-rickshaw in Hyderabad. He started playing cricket as a batsman but later developed into a bowler. It was his elder brother who pushed him into professional cricket.
A self-made cricketer, Mohammed Siraj hails from a financially-crippled family. His father was an auto-rickshaw puller in Hyderabad and his mother, a housewife.
Interestingly, Siraj started off as a batsman, but later developed into a bowler after his gully cricket friends' praised his bowling skills. It was Siraj's elder brother who pushed him to take up cricket as a profession.
Siraj lost his father in November 2020 due to cardiac arrest.