“Grateful to Allah and thankful to Virat bhaiya”: Meet Mohammed Siraj, son of Hyderabad’s auto-rickshaw driver, who created history in IPL against Kolkata Knight Riders

Mohammed Siraj became the first bowler in the history of the Indian Premier League to bowl two back-to-back maidens when he wreaked havoc in the Kolkata Knight Riders camp. Siraj conceded just eight runs in his quota of four overs and claimed three early wickets of Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana and Tom Banton.

Speaking after the match, Siraj said, “First of all I’m very grateful to Allah for today’s performance. Second, I thank Virat bhaiya, who gave me the new ball. I’ve been practicing a lot with the new ball, but got the opportunity only now. So it felt very good.”

Siraj said that he wasn’t expecting his skipper to ask him to open the bowling with a new ball. He said, “As soon as I went to the field, Virat bhaiya said ‘miyan ready ho jao. (get ready).’ So, I said it’s fine.”

Speaking about the mood in the RCB camp, Siraj said, “The mood is very positive. Every player’s involvement is great. Every one of us wants to support each other. Everyone wants to perform. This is boosting the morale of players and the team.”

Siraj was born on 13 March 1994 in Hyderabad and grew up amidst hardship as his father, an auto-rickshaw driver, did not have money to send him to a cricket academy. His talent was noticed by the mandarins of Charminar Cricket Club in Hyderabad where he went on a friend’s invitation to bowl at the nets. He took five wickets in his very first match.

This led to his selection as one of the probables for the state’s Under-23 team. He made his Ranji Trophy debut in 2015, but he began to wreak havoc with his lethal bowling from the 2016 season when he claimed 41 wickets in nine matches at an average of 18.92.

In 2017-18, he took 23 wickets in just seven matches while playing in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.

He was bought for a whopping Rs. 2.6 crore by Sunrisers Hyderabad. His purchase had caused a bidding war given that his base price was just Rs. 20 lakh. Royal Challengers bought him for Rs. 2.20 crore in 2018 after the SRH released him. Since then, he’s been a part of Royal Challengers Bangalore.

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