WI v IND: It’s not easy to take a five-fer on such a flat wicket, says Mohammed Siraj

In the ongoing tour of the West Indies, Mohammed Siraj had to step up to be the leader of the Indian fast-bowling attack. On Fay Four, where there was nothing for the bowlers to extract from a slow pitch at Queen’s Park Oval, Siraj returned with his career-best figures of five for 60 to give India a healthy 183-run lead.

Mohammed Siraj had to take the helm of the Indian fast-bowling assault during the current tour of the West Indies. At Queen’s Park Oval, on Fay Four, where there was nothing the bowlers could get out of a slow surface, Siraj came back with his career-best figures of five for 60, giving India a comfortable 183-run win.

Siraj’s scalps for his second five-wicket haul in Tests included Joshua da Silva, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel. Siraj mixed his inswingers, outswingers and wobble-seam deliveries to good effect with the second new ball to bring a swift end to the West Indies innings.

The fast bowler pointed out that it was not easy for him to succeed on a placid pitch. “First of all, this performance was really good because it’s not easy to take a five-fer on such a flat wicket. The pitch wasn’t doing much. I wanted to keep it stump to stump. From there if it seams, it’s really good.”

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“That was my plan, just to keep executing this simple plan. For Day Four, we had a relatively new ball too, so it was swinging. On Day Five, we’ll start with an older ball, we’ll have to keep simple plans, not give away too many runs and just keep building the pressure,” said Siraj after the end of the day’s play.

Siraj also credited India’s lead strength and conditioning coach Soham Desai for helping him improve his fitness and survive to bowl in tough conditions.

“It’s hot and humid here. On and off it’s raining too. It’s a challenge to keep yourself warmed up as a fast bowler when you keep going off the field and the body tends to relax and cool down fast.”

“As a fast bowler, it’s also difficult to bowl long spells in this humidity. I try to keep my body warmed up and just focus on simple plans. I’m really thankful to Soham bhai and credit to him for working on my fitness. I’m playing continuously and he works so hard with me. From proteins to omegas, he orders everything for me. Look at this whoop band (fitness tracker), he only ordered it,” he added.

With no Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, Siraj is relishing the chance to be the leader of the Indian fast-bowling line-up.

“To be honest, I feel really good when you are given an extra responsibility (of leading the bowling attack). It’s a great feeling and it’s a challenge too. When no one else is there, I have to get on the ground and show some responsibility. I like accepting this challenge.”

Siraj signed off by saying ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin can run through the West Indies batting line-up to seal a thumping win for India on day five.

“The way the wicket is behaving, I feel Ashwin, will run through the West Indies batting (order), the ball is turning.”

-IANS

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