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‘People told me to quit cricket’: Siraj reveals how advice from MS Dhoni helped him beat trolls after IPL 2019 match | locust

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Over the past two years, Mohammed Siraj has made a name for himself as one of the fiercest fast bowlers in Team India. The right hander has already cemented his place in the Test XI and is one of the few all-format players in the Indian squad. The 27-year-old is also part of India’s ODI and T20I squads for the upcoming series against West Indies, which kicks off on February 5.

Siraj has made significant progress in Indian cricket circles after impressive performances in the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he won 11 wickets in nine games; his performance improved further in 2021 when he played at a save rate of just 6.78 in fifteen matches. As a result, he earned an international call-up to the Australian tour and made his test debut in Melbourne; eventually finishing as India’s highest wicket taker in the series (13 wickets in three games).

However, Siraj didn’t have a good start to his international career in 2017 where he proved costly in a T20I against New Zealand. A year later, he also struggled in the IPL and Siraj recalled a match against KKR in the 2019 edition, where he threw two spotlights and was taken out of attack, registering numbers of 0 /36 in just 2.2 overs.

“When I pitched two beamers against KKR in 2018 (2019), I got a lot of criticism. People even told me to give up cricket and ‘go drive a car with your dad’. He there have been so many comments,” Siraj said on the RBC Podcast.

“When I was selected for India for the first time, Mahi bhai said one thing to me; “Don’t listen to anyone. You will play well today and everyone will congratulate you. Tomorrow, when you play badly, the same people will bring you down. Never take an opinion”. I remember people were trolling me so much back then. The same people call me the ‘best bowler’ now. I don’t need to listen to this. I was the same Siraj then and I am the same Siraj now.

Siraj mentioned that IPL made her life “better”.

“When I was selected for the IPL, my life improved. My father stopped driving, we bought a new house. I didn’t need anything else in life. I only tried to work harder at that time,” said the Indian fast bowler.

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