‘Is he mad?’ – Siraj reveals run-in with angry Anderson after ‘you’ve taken 600 wickets but I don’t care’ jibe
Mohammed Siraj opened up about his run-in with James Anderson during India’s 2021 Test tour of England during the 33-run stand between Jasprit Bumrah and Siraj for the 10th wicket in Nottingham.
India gained the early edge during the first Test match of the series. After dismissing England for 183 in the first innings, they reached a tricky 205-7 before the lower order added 73 for the last three wickets. This included a 33-run stand between Bumrah and No.11 Siraj. Bumrah made 28 in 34 balls with three fours and a six, while Siraj, playing only his sixth Test match, remained unbeaten on seven as India took a vital lead.
Nearly two years later, Siraj re-lived Anderson’s frustration at the wagging Indian tail on Breakfast with Champions: “I was batting and Anderson was bowling. Me and Jassi-bhai [Bumrah] were batting and for us, every ball is a free hit – just swing the bat every time. Anderson came up to me and abused me. I felt angry and told him, ‘wait till you come out to bat against me.’
“When he walked out to bat, I went up to him and said, ‘You’ve taken 600 wickets but I don’t care. You have no respect for me.’ Anderson was quite angered by that and walked up to [Indian captain] Virat Kohli and told him: ‘What is he thinking? Is he mad or what?’ My words affected him, hurt his ego.”
The Trent Bridge Test match ended in a draw after rain washed out the last day’s play. Chasing 209, India had reached 52-1 at stumps on day four.
In the next Test, at Lord’s, Anderson would also accuse Bumrah of “cheating” for purposely bowling fast at him. That match ended in Siraj knocking over Anderson’s stumps as India scripted a historic win.
Siraj’s comments to Anderson are reminiscent of Kohli’s press conference in 2014. Kohli had taken a dig at Mitchell Johnson after the latter, in his follow-through, had thrown the ball at him in the Melbourne Test match.
A 26-year-old Kohli had said: “I was really annoyed with him hitting me with the ball, and I told him that’s not on. ‘Try and hit the stumps next time, not my body.’ You have got to send the right message across. I am not there to take to some unnecessary words or chats from someone.
“I am going there to play cricket, back myself. There’s no good reason that I should unnecessarily some people when they are not respecting me. I respect quite a few of them [Australian players], but someone who doesn’t respect me I have no reason to respect him. I don’t really need to care about what they think as far as respecting me or me respecting them is concerned.
“Someone who is not backing off, someone who is saying anything that comes to mouth I have no reason to respect him.”