Harbhajan Singh Identifies Youngster As India’s Future “No.1 Bowler,” Backs Him To Come Good In South Africa

The fact that Mohammed Siraj is still not an automatic choice in India’s XI wherever they play a Test match speaks volumes about the depth and quality in their seam-bowling unit. The ones, if fit, who have limited Siraj to a couple matches in a series at best are Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami. But with Ishant at the twilight of his career, Siraj has perhaps done enough to force his way into the side even when India’s famed trio are fully fit. Take the Mumbai Test as the most recent example. Siraj came into the side after an injury ruled Ishant out of the second Test against New Zealand. The Wankhede pitch had nothing really to bring joy on a fast bowler’s face but it had that extra zip and bounce which was missing in the previous Test in Kanpur. That was enough for Siraj. Actually any surface is for him. He just needs a ball in his hand to show to the world, how to spill life into it. The fact that he has got an aggressive captain in Virat Kohli, who relishes his fast bowlers terrorizing opposition batters as much as scoring a hundred, helps.

Siraj ran in at full tilt and started to bang the ball into the surface. It didn’t take long for it to respond. He got one to straighten from a good length to catch the outside edge of New Zealand opener Will Young’s bat. With the taste of blood, Siraj went hunting.

His next victim was Tom Latham. The left-hander who batted hours and hours in Kanpur, gave in to Siraj’s stubbornness. The left-hander played a pull shot and was holed out in the deep. The trap was set and Latham fell right into it.

Like every noted showman, Siraj saved the best for last. He bowled an absolute jaffer to Ros Taylor that knocked his stumps out of the ground. Just like that, New Zealand had lost their top three for literally nothing on the board. When they were preparing for the spin-troika of Ashwin, Axar and Jayant, Siraj came out of syllabus and how.

Veteran India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh therefore said it won’t take long for Siraj to rise as India’s No.1 bowler. Harbhajan said Siraj would be one of the first names the selectors would pick when the sit to name India’s squad for the South Africa tour later this month.

“Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammed Siraj… what an outstanding bowler. In the time to come, he will be India’s No. 1 bowler. With him, I feel Shardul Thakur will return because in South Africa you will require a seamer who can bat as well. Along with them, we shall certainly see R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja playing and perhaps, Axar Patel could also be seen operating with them,” Harbhajan said on his YouTube channel.


Harbhajan was not the only one impressed with Siraj’s whole-hearted bowling performance. Former India pacer Zaheer Khan called Siraj’s spell a “game-changing” one.

“Another game-changing spell was by Siraj when he took 3 early wickets in his 1st spell. On a pitch that is assisting only spinners, pulling off a magical wicket like that of Ross Taylor was amazing. It was great to see Siraj playing to his strengths and attacking the 3 wickets in view,” Zaheer told BalleBaazi.com.

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