Mohammed Siraj and Virat Kohli have been playing in the Bangalore team since 2018. Last year, the duo was retained by the three-time finalists. Siraj has played for the franchise in 44 games and has 40 scalps to his name. In the last couple of years, the right-arm pacer has gone on to become one of the best Indian pacers. In seasons 2020 and 2021, the Hyderabad-born player took 22 wickets in 24 games and became a force to reckon with.
He then went to make his Test debut in late 2020 against Australia, where he took a five-wicket haul in his third game. However, the road to success wasn’t as smooth as fans might make out to be. In 2018, the 28-year-old had a terrible season with the ball. Although he had taken 11 wickets in as many games, his economy rate was 8.95. Siraj said that he thought his career was over after a horrible season but Virat Kohli backed him, adding that whatever he is today is because of former India skipper.
“In 2018 I had my worst year in terms of performance for RCB. Had it been any other franchise, I would have probably been released. Any other team would have dropped me but Virat showed support and retained me. The entire credit goes to Virat bhai. Whatever I am today – the confidence in my bowling and everything – it wouldn’t have been possible without Virat,” Siraj said as quoted by News18.
Siraj added that a captain like Kohli is very important for the bowlers as he always backs the players. He also said that Virat’s energy on the field keeps the bowlers and team charged up.
“A captain like him is very important for bowlers. Virat’s energy on the field is such that if a fast bowler is seeking energy to bowl, he just needs to look at him. Even if a bowler’s energy level drops, all he needs to do is just look at Virat Kohli and the way he marshals his troops. It will come back. He is very different and unique,” Siraj added.