Mohammed Siraj has emerged as one of the most exciting players in the Indian domestic cricket circuit, having recently made his mark with a brilliant first class season. His excellent run of form saw him earn call-ups to the India A and Rest of India sides. On Monday, Siraj landed a whopping Rs. 2.6 crore deal with Sunrisers Hyderabad at the IPL 2017 player auction in Bengaluru. Having come from a humble economic background, the right-arm speedster aims to buy a house in a good Hyderabad locality for his parents Mohammed Ghaus and Shabana Begum.
"Today, I remember my first income playing cricket. It was a club match and my maternal uncle was the captain of the team. I got 9 wickets for 20 odd runs in that 25 over game. My uncle was so happy he gave me Rs 500 as a prize. It was a great feeling. But today when the bid was raised to Rs 2.6 crore, I just went numb," Siraj told PTI during an interaction from Hyderabad.
Coming from a lower middle class family, it is but obvious that he is indebted to his parents for their sacrifices in making him a professional cricketer.
"Mere walid saab ne bohot mehnat ki hain (My father has slogged a lot). He drove auto all these years but never let financial pressure of the family affect me or my elder brother. A bowling spikes costs a lot and he would just get the best for me. I want to buy a house for them now in a good locality," an emotional Siraj said.
"My parents have seen hard days. Today my elder brother is a software engineer in a reputed IT firm. I didn't have interest in studies and my mother would bash me up giving my elder brother's example. But today she's on top of the world," said Siraj.
For him, the progress was a gradual one.
"Since I started from tennis ball cricket, I am self taught. I had pace but tennis ball cricket teaches you to bowl in blockholes. Then I played Hyderabad U22, Mushtaq Ali, Vijay Hazare and then Ranji Trophy followed by India A. I have taken one step at a time. Next is IPL followed by senior national team," said Siraj.
Sharing the dressing room with VVS Laxman as mentor and captained by David Warner is a big plus.
"As a youngster, I would like to learn everything I can. Laxman sir is there and I would get a chance to interact with a player of David Warner's stature," concluded Siraj excusing himself to speak to media who had made a beeline for his interview.
(With inputs from PTI)