India’s bowling numbers in the powerplay have witnessed an upward trend since early 2022, and much of this progress can be attributed to the skill and strategic brilliance demonstrated by Mohammed Siraj, who today climbed eight positions in the men’s bowling rankings, surpassing Josh Hazlewood to become the No.1 ODI bowler in the world.
The Hyderabadi speedster, who made his white-ball debut back in 2019, started making headlines only in 2022, with his breakthrough series being against West Indies in 2022. It was in the 3rd ODI that he left a lasting impression with his spell of 9-1-39-3 at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Since then, he has not looked back.
Siraj’s voyage into the realm of white-ball excellence truly took flight when he led an inexperienced bowling attack against a full-strength South Africa, in the home ODI series in October last year. The speedster bagged 3 for 38 against the Proteas in Ranchi, significantly contributing to India’s win.
Post his terrorizing display of fast bowling in the recently concluded Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka, where he single-handedly ran through the Lankan batting order like a stroll in the park, Mohammed Siraj’s ODI numbers stand at 53 wickets from 28 innings at an average of 19.1 runs per wicket.
Since 2022, he has been the highest wicket-taker in ODIs among bowlers from Test-playing nations, with a significant lead over the second-placed Alzarri Joseph, who has 9 less wickets.
Siraj, once perceived as an enigma in the white-ball domain, has worked a lot on his bowling in the last year or so. He has learned to bowl the hard length, a skill that has transformed him into a potent force not just in ODIs but also in the shortest format of the game.
Siraj’s effectiveness with the new ball has largely contributed to his growth. His arsenal is rich with his ability to bowl both the out-swinger and the wobble seam delivery, which he has been using to trouble the right-handers off late.
Notably, 32 of Siraj’s 53 ODI wickets have come within the first 10 overs of the match, at an average of 16.2.
In the last one-and-half-year or so, Siraj has been dismantling top-orders, accounting for 54.71 percent of his wickets being top-three batsmen, who usually score majority of the runs in ODIs these days.
While Siraj does best as an opening bowler, he has fared decently in other stages of the game as well. He has taken 15 wickets in the middle overs with an economy rate of 4.83 and six wickets in the death overs with an economy rate of 6.41.
Injuries plaguing several Indian fast bowlers like Jasprit Bumrah, Deepak Chahar, and Prasidh Krishna, opened the window of opportunity for Mohammed Siraj to express himself. Siraj’s remarkable consistency and his ability to turn the tide in big games, as seen in the Asia Cup final, have helped him seal his place in the first-choice ODI XI, replacing the likes of Mohammed Shami.
While the Indian bowling department relies on Jasprit Bumrah to marshal the troops in the World Cup, Mohammed Siraj’s exceptional form makes him a strong contender to steal the spotlight.
India will start their World Cup campaign against Australia in Chennai on October 8.