As India's cricket team continues its competitive tour of the West Indies, news emerges that Mohammed Siraj, the promising fast bowler, will be rested for the ODI leg of the tour due to a precautionary measure. The decision was made after Siraj complained of a sore ankle, prompting the team management to prioritize his well-being and allow him time to recuperate.
The talented seamer, known for his pace and skill, has flown back to India alongside the Test contingent that includes Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, KS Bharat, and Navdeep Saini, following India's triumph in the Test series, which concluded with a 1-0 victory.
Siraj's absence from the ODI squad leaves a void in the seam bowling department, making Shardul Thakur the most experienced seamer in the team with 50 wickets in 35 matches. The other three seamers – Umran Malik, Jaydev Unadkat, and Mukesh Kumar – collectively have only 15 ODIs under their belt. Mukesh, in fact, is yet to make his ODI debut.
UPDATE – Mohd. Siraj has been released from Team India’s ODI squad ahead of the three-match series against the West Indies.— BCCI (@BCCI) July 27, 2023
The right-arm pacer complained of a sore ankle and as a precautionary measure has been advised rest by the BCCI medical team.
More details here… pic.twitter.com/Fj7V6jIxOk
Despite this, India is unlikely to seek a replacement for Siraj, as they have the dynamic all-rounder Hardik Pandya as a formidable option in the tour party.
As the cricketing calendar becomes increasingly packed leading up to the home ODI World Cup in October, India is set to face further challenges with the Asia Cup scheduled from late August to mid-September. Additionally, they will engage in a crucial three-match ODI series against Australia on home soil in September, adding to the team's responsibilities and preparations for the global event.
Mohammed Siraj has been in excellent bowling form since IPL 2023
Prior to this West Indies tour, Siraj showcased his exceptional talent in the Test arena, contributing significantly to India's success. In the two Tests against the West Indies, he demonstrated his prowess with the ball, amassing seven wickets, including a remarkable five-wicket haul in the first innings on a seemingly unyielding Port-of-Spain pitch. His spectacular performance triggered a batting collapse for the West Indies on the fourth morning of the Test.
Siraj's recent feats have also extended to the highly competitive World Test Championship final against Australia at The Oval. Playing a crucial role in the bowling attack, he took five wickets, including an impressive four-wicket haul in the first innings, contributing to India's historic victory in the championship.
Beyond the Test format, Mohammed Siraj's participation in the IPL 2023 for the Royal Challengers Bangalore was equally remarkable. Throughout the tournament, he exhibited his bowling prowess, claiming 19 wickets in 14 matches, the highest tally for RCB, who narrowly missed out on the playoffs.
While Siraj continues to shine in the longer formats of the game, his last ODI appearance dates back to March 2022, where he performed brilliantly against Australia at home, securing five wickets, the most for India and the second-highest in the series. In a span of fewer than two years, Siraj has emerged as the most successful Indian bowler in ODIs, having taken an impressive 43 wickets since the beginning of 2022.
As cricket enthusiasts await his return to ODI action, Mohammed Siraj's talent and form remain crucial for India's prospects in the upcoming ODI series and the Asia Cup. With his ability to trouble the best of batsmen and his growing stature as a match-winner, he will undoubtedly play an essential role in India's quest for glory in the limited-overs formats.