'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.'
India's bowling coach Bharat Arun hailed Mohammed Siraj for his impressive showing with the ball in Australia, saying that the young pace bowler has both the anger and hunger to succeed at the highest level.
Siraj was instrumental in India's Test series triumph in Australia as he picked up 13 wickets from three games, including a five-wicket haul in the series-deciding fourth and final Test in Brisbane.
The Hyderabad fast bowler had lost his father but he decided to stay back in Australia, saying his family wanted him to concentrate on his cricket and fulfill his father's dream of playing for India.
"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 (Royal Challengers Bangalore) when he came as a net bowler. At that time, I went and told VVS Laxman during our game against SunRisers (Hyderabad) that the kid is bowling really well. I asked him he still has not played for Hyderabad. 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.
Arun pointed out that Siraj's biggest strength is the confidence in his abilities.
"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 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 the coach.
India had lost the first Test against Australia at Adelaide after being bowled out for their record Test low score of 36. However, they bounced back in great style in the remaining three Tests under the leadership of Ajinkya Rahane, who took over the captaincy in place of Virat Kohli, who returned home after the first match for the birth of his first child.
"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 to the T," said Arun.