Mohammed Siraj, the Royal Challengers Bangalore [ RCB ] quick, in a recent interview, has hit out at those who relentlessly question his IPL performances, while also revealing the hardships he has faced throughout his career.
In a video produced by RCB in the UAE during IPL 2020, Siraj gave an honest, detailed interview, revealing details of his financial struggles while growing up, and the support he received from people at different stages of his life.
Siraj revealed that he asked his father, an autorickshaw driver, to stop driving after making headlines in the 2017 auction when he was picked for INR 2.8 crores by Sunrisers Hyderabad. Siraj was acquired by RCB the following year, where he has stayed since, breaking into India’s T20I team in 2017 and the ODI team in 2019. Over the last few years, Siraj has been at the receiving end of jokes and memes, with several pointing fingers at him for his economy rate.
“People have a habit of judging others,” Siraj said. “They don’t see what the person is doing and how they have struggled to reach where they have. We didn’t get it easy, right? Coming here and playing the IPL – (it isn’t a) gift. The person who’s come here after struggling, he’s given a platform. There’s a lot of pressure, man.”
“Just try stepping on the ground and staying for 15 minutes, in front of such big crowds – you won’t be able to. Everyone gets hit – it’s T20 cricket. Everyone gets hit. Some days are good for people, others are bad – doesn’t mean (you say) ‘he’s a bad bowler’, ‘do this to him, do that’. This is a really wrong thing [mindset] we have.”
Siraj, who became the first bowler to bowl two maidens in a single IPL game during his spell of 3-8 against Kolkata Knight Riders, revealed how MS Dhoni taught him to silence all outside noise and stop focussing on what others have to say.
“MS Dhoni has always said – ‘Don’t take others’ opinion. If one match doesn’t go your way, people will say you are not good enough. If you keep thinking about this, you will go mad. Think about this – if you do well in the next game, those who were saying bad things about you will stand next to you and start praising, ‘Oh, you’re such a good bowler’.”
“We know that RCB fans are extremely loyal. I also feel bad when I don’t perform well. I also want to make RCB win – it is my dream, to make RCB win the final.”