The Mohammed Siraj and Bharat Arun Relation
There’s something about Mohammed Siraj that makes you forget about everything else and focus solely on his 5’10” frame. He doesn’t even need a ball or, dare we say, a bat to keep the crowd entertained. Hours can be spent observing his facial expressions as he tries to persuade skipper Virat Kohli to take a review. The ball is never allowed to travel down the leg side or over the stumps.
There had to be a cliff somewhere. Every time there is a wicket, there is a wicket. Excitement is his best friend, and energy is his most dependable ally. He rushes in and bowls his heart out, ball after ball, over after over, spell after spell, and more often than not, he outscores the batter. When he doesn’t, his adrenaline compensates. Because he has the capacity to transfer it to everyone who is watching the events unfold. Siraj is in charge of the box office.
Siraj had always been this way. Even before he made Australia’s red Kookaburra and England’s cherry Dukes dance to his rhythms. Long before he was selected for first-class cricket, his battery-like energy and ocean-sized heart had made him one of the most lovable cricketers in the Old Hyderabad city.
Tennis ball events were a breeze for Siraj
Tennis ball events were Siraj’s forte. I spent my days on one field and my evenings on another, winning matches and picking wickets. Jerseys changed, his team did, and more often than not, the venues did as well, but what remained constant was his determination to give it his all on the cricket pitch. The seeds of Siraj’s deceit were sown in the Old Hyderabad city a few days ago, but he needed someone to nourish them. That was obtained in Bharat Arun.
Former cricketer P Jyothi Prasad handed over the raw Siraj to Arun, who was then the Hyderabad coach in 2016-17. It’s what Arun, the current India bowling coach, has done with Siraj that makes their connection so intriguing. “Isn’t it true that if you give a child a toy, he’ll keep playing with it? When Bharat Arun saw the slope, he urged him to angle it over with a scrambled seam. So he kept doing it with great success,” R Sridhar, India’s fielding coach, informed R Ashwin when the latter inquired about Siraj’s exceptional use of the Lord’s slope.
Back to back deliveries in the second innings
In the second innings, Siraj used the identical strategy to get the wickets of Moeen Ali and Sam Curran off back-to-back deliveries, utilising the scrambling seam and allowing the slope to push the ball further away with the angle. Lord’s was only one of many examples. Bharat Arun was Siraj’s strongest fan, philosopher, advisor, and, above all, a sure-fire recipe for success in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, and even Nottingham. It’s one of the most powerful coach-player relationships in Indian cricket’s recent history.
“Siraj’s success also has a lot to do with Arun. When he was the coach for Hyderabad for a year or so, he identified Siraj. And to Siraj’s credit, he had the hunger and desire to learn. Arun imparted a lot of knowledge,” former India cricketer Laxman Sivaramakrishnan told Hindustan Times.