ICC World Cup: I judge myself through my rhythm not wickets – Siraj after three-wicket haul against Sri Lanka

ICC World Cup: I judge myself through my rhythm not wickets – Siraj after three-wicket haul against Sri Lanka

He did have issues with rhythm in the past couple of games but Mohammed Siraj’s parameter of judging himself is consistency in deliveries bowled in good areas rather than the volume of wickets taken.

Siraj has so far taken nine wickets from seven games and after the Pakistan game, once again looked in rhythm during his wonderful spell of 3/16 in 7 overs as India bowled Sri Lanka for a paltry 55.

“Taking wickets is important and there is no doubt about that. But my rhythm was not consistent for the last 2-3 matches, sometimes I was in rhythm and sometimes I was not,” Siraj told the mixed zone media after India’s humongous 302-run win here at the Wankhede Stadium.

Statistics always don’t reflect a true picture and Siraj doesn’t want to be critical of himself about the number of wickets in his kitty.

“I am not judging myself with (the number of) wickets (taken). The fact that I was able to land the ball consistently (in good areas) and the swing which I got, that you saw, I am very happy about it and I want to carry this momentum forward,” he said.

ALSO READ | IND vs SL: Shami takes fifer as India obliterates Sri Lanka to register its biggest win in ODI World Cup history

Sri Lanka was a game where his execution was picture-perfect.

“Whatever I had planned coming into this match brought me success and whatever I had thought of, I was able to execute. And I am happy that we have qualified (for semifinals) as well,” he added.

With Mohammed Shami producing his second five-wicket haul in three games and Jasprit Bumrah at the top of his performances in every game so far, there are talks doing rounds that this bowling line-up has been India’s best. However, Siraj does not want to get drawn into any such talks or comparisons.

“When we are doing well everyone keeps saying that the combination is good but when the performances go down there are talks that this bowler should be dropped or that one,” he said.

Siraj also doesn’t like the talk about changing combinations every second game.

“With just one bad game, everyone talks about changes in combination and dropping the players. We are keeping all the negatives outside and taking all the positives along the way with us,” Siraj added.

Siraj expressed happiness in the fact that each of India’s bowling attack has stepped up in various stages of their World Cup campaign, and he highlights sharing of information and relaying crucial messages to each other during the games as one of the key factors.

“As you can see our fast bowling unit is very good, if I am not getting wickets Shami bhai is stepping in and taking them or Jassi bhai (Jasprit Bumrah) is. It is going very well (at the moment) for us fast bowlers, we speak about what better line and length to bowl on at a wicket,” Siraj said.

“We are passing on these messages to each other which is very important. For fast bowlers, it is very important to bowl in a consistent area. In the 50-overs format, when you take a wicket or two in the powerplay, the opposition team gets pushed on the back foot. It is very important to take wickets early and that is happening, so we want to continue with this momentum,” he added.

As the leader of the pack, it is Bumrah, who gives them input on what lengths to bowl on a particular track.

“When Jassi bhai bowls, he gets an idea about what line and length is better on a wicket. He relays the same message to us and I also speak with KL (Rahul) bhai because, from his position, he can see how much the ball is swinging or how much movement is off the seam,” Siraj said.

“I get alerted on getting these messages; say the ball is not swinging, but I still try to find some swing but if there is nothing, then I switch to generating seam movement. It is very good for us as fast bowlers to get such messages and also for the team,” he replied when asked about what sort of messages are exchanged between the bowlers on the field while playing a match.

The right-arm pacer also heaped praise on India vice-captain and wicketkeeper-batter KL Rahul for being consistently on top of his judgment when it comes to his inputs during the DRS calls.

On Thursday, with the umpire judging a delivery from Shami down the leg as a wide, Rahul asked for DRS intervention and the replays showed that the ball had indeed brushed Dushmantha Chameera’s gloves.

“As a wicketkeeper, it is important to see where the ball is hitting or going down or hitting the stump. He gets a good view from behind and he is taking some very good calls. He practised a lot during his injury (lay-off) and in the rehab he had good hits so it is working out very well for him as a wicketkeeper and for the team,” Siraj said.

Siraj said dismissing Sri Lanka batters Dasun Shanaka in the Asia Cup final and Kusal Mendis on identical deliveries were both special to him.

“Both the dismissals were similar, Shanaka’s got me the five-wicket haul. Both are good because I have not got many wickets bowling wide of the crease. Whatever I thought of, I was able to execute,” he said.

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