- Rohit Singh | January 29, 2023 | 3:48 am
India quick Mohammed Siraj has capped off a superb 12 months by claiming the No.1 spot on the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings for bowlers from New Zealand seamer Trent Boult. Hailing Siraj, Ashwin said that the fast bowler has the full repertoire, from outswingers and inswingers to bouncers and slower balls. India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey challenged Siraj to work on certain aspects of his game in the middle of last year and the extra training the energetic quick has put in has paid off in spades judged on recent performances.
In the latest ICC ODI rankings for bowlers, Siraj claimed the top spot for the first time in his career, pushing behind Australia’s Josh Hazlewood and New Zealand’s Trent Boult. While the Indian fast bowler has 729 points in the bowling rankings, Hazlewood is on 727 and Boult on 708. Siraj was the leading wicket-taker in the one-day series against Sri Lanka, claiming nine scalps in three matches at an average of 10.22. He impressed in the subsequent ODIs against New Zealand as well, picking up five wickets in two games at an average of 11.20.
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“All his (Siraj) hard work has brought him to No.1 position”-Ashwin
Apart from his bowling performances, Ashwin also extolled Siraj for maintaining a positive attitude irrespective of the results. He also opposed those who criticized the fast bowler for being too expensive in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Not only has Siraj’s form over the last 12 months been imperious, but his efforts in ODI series at home earlier this month against Sri Lanka and New Zealand has shown just how much the right-armer has improved in recent times. Describing the right-arm pacer as a cricketer with a big heart, Ashwin commented:
“World’s No. 1 ODI bowler. What does he not have? If you want outswinger, he has it. If you want inswinger, he has it. If you want bouncer, he has it. If you want a slower ball, he has it. If you want him to become No. 1 bowler, he can become that too.
It’s a remarkable rise for Siraj, who only returned to India’s ODI setup in February last year following a three-year hiatus without playing a 50-over match at the international level. Since then Siraj has collected 37 wickets from 20 matches to be one of India’s most consistent fast bowlers and the accolades have started to pile in for the underrated 28-year-old.
On Tuesday, Siraj was named in the ICC Men’s ODI Team of the Year and on Wednesday the right-armer had another reason to celebrate as he went past Boult and Australia seamer Josh Hazlewood to become the top-ranked ODI bowler for the very first time.