Mohammed Siraj replaces Jasprit Bumrah in India's T20I squad
With Mohammad Shami also sidelined with Covid, the selectors have given Mohammed Siraj a backdoor entry into the T20I squad.
India have recalled Mohammed Siraj to beef up their dwindling fast-bowling resources in wake of Jasprit Bumrah's back injury for the remaining matches of the ongoing T20I series against South Africa.
Siraj is a sudden inclusion to the T20I set-up ahead of the T20 World Cup amid threat that Bumrah could be officially ruled out of the tournament after reports emerged that the cricketer has gone down with a lower back stress fracture.
The young seamer last played a T20I in February at Dharamshala against Sri Lanka, after which he was dropped from the squad for the subsequent T20I series versus South Africa, Ireland, England, West Indies before facing the axe for the Asia Cup 2022 and set of home T20Is versus Australia.
Just prior to his call-up for the remaining two T20Is against South Africa, Mohammed Siraj was in UK, continuing his short county stint with Warwickshire. The pacer has featured in only five sporadic T20Is for India, picking up a wicket apiece while conceding 10.45 runs an over.
Mohammed Siraj comes back for South Africa T20Is
Notably, Mohammed Siraj has made his comeback despite the presence of Umesh Yadav in the squad. Umesh, who made his return owing to Mohammad Shami's positive Covid test prior to the Australia T20Is, didn't play the opening game of the South Africa series in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday (September 28). He seems unlikely to be given a game in the rest of the series, too, with the team management offering Arshdeep Singh, Deepak Chahar and Harshal Patel more game time.
With Bumrah and Shami sidelined, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar rested, Siraj's T20I career may have received a new lease of life. The pacer had shown an encouraging upward curve to his T20 game via his stint as a lead bowler for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL 2020 and IPL 2021, taking 22 wickets at 7.44 an over with an economy rate of only 8.18 at the death.
But Siraj had a disappointing return to mean in IPL 2022 where he was expensive all throughout the season on flatter pitches in Maharashtra. The pacer took his 10 wickets at 9.74 runs an over, while going for a horrible ER of 14.55 at the death in RCB colours.
If given an opportunity, the often errratic seamer will have to showcase greater control and consistency than he has if he is to revive his India career in the shortest format.