Hyderabad: For a couple of Hyderabadis, the IPL auction has been two good. Fast bowler Mohammed Siraj and opening batsman Tanmay Agarwal made it to the Sunrisers Hyderabad team, at contrasting prices though.
While Tanmay was picked at his base price of Rs 10 lakh, Siraj fetched a whopping Rs 2.6 crore more than 10 times his base price of Rs 20 lakh.
Siraj is staggered by the amount SRH shelled out to get him. “I knew I would be picked at the auction but to be bought at Rs 2.6 crore is a wild dream,” he told this newspaper. “I am very happy!”
The windfall is a boon for the son of an autorickshaw driver. “My father has worked hard for the family. Now, I will not allow him to drive the auto — he’s done that for 30 years,” he said.
Also, “buying a house” is on the top of Siraj’s mind. His family lives in a rented house. Siraj recalled being thrashed by his mother for neglecting academics in favour of games. “My parents have seen hard days. Today my elder brother is a software engineer. I didn’t have interest in studies and my mother would bash me up giving my elder brother’s example. But today she’s on top of the world,” he said.
Siraj impressed in the Ranji Trophy to help Hyderabad qualify for the knockouts after five years by taking 41 wickets in nine matches. His nine wickets in the quarterfinals almost knocked out Mumbai. Next up were the domestic T20s in which the pacer scalped nine more, earning a place in the Rest of India and India ‘A’ sides.
“The wickets I took against Mumbai were the key and gave me lot of confidence,” said Siraj. The fast bowler attributes his success to hard work, blessings of parents, Hyderabad coach Bharat Arun and captain S. Badrinath. “Bharat Arun sir and Badrinath have been a great source of strength. They had tremendous faith in my abilities,” he said.
The 22-year-old plans to use the IPL as a stepping stone to make his way into the Indian team. “I need to make adjustments and infuse variety into the attack. I will work hard to develop my armoury,” he said.
Siraj is all excited to play alongside big names in the IPL. “I just can’t wait for April,” he gushes. Meanwhile, Tanmay reaped the rewards for being the highest run-scorer in the recent domestic T20s, with 250 runs in five innings at a strike rate of 162.33. Four batsmen aggregated more than 200 runs in the tournament. Tanmay was the only one with a strike rate of over 150.
“That tournament in Chennai was the turning point. People started looking at me after those runs,” Tanmay said. The 21-year-old is “excited a lot” to be in an IPL squad. “This is my first IPL and I would like to use this to learn as much as possible. I want to take my game to the next level and perform better,” the power hitter said.
Sharing the dressing room with stars such as David Warner and Yuvraj Singh is another huge plus for the left-hander. “Indeed,” he says. “I want to acquire as much experience as possible from them and learn to deal with different situations.”
Tanmay is “thankful to his parents, family and everyone who has been involved in and supported my cricket. Special thanks to (Hyderabad coach) Bharat Arun sir, he’s engineered a major turnaround.”...