Mohammed Siraj had a forgettable international debut in India’s second Twenty20 International against New Zealand in Rajkot on Saturday (November 4), conceding 53 runs from his four overs for a solitary wicket. The hosts conceded 196 from 20 overs and ended up losing by 40 runs.
Siraj, though, found strong backing from Jasprit Bumrah, who is fast becoming the mainstay of the Indian bowling attack.
“It’s okay, it was his first game,” said Bumrah after the game. “It’s always difficult on a difficult wicket and he’s coming into a new team, so it takes time for a bowler to adjust. So it’s okay, he’ll learn. As a bowler, you learn a lot when you get hit. With this experience, he’ll be a better bowler when he comes into the next match.
“As a bowler, once you get hit, you learn. It’s very easy to sit and say that he’s come from here, he should do well … but it’s difficult to do well. As a bowler, this wicket was challenging. For a new guy to come in against such an opposition is difficult. So I was just trying to give him confidence that it’s okay, every bowler goes for runs. You get hit but this is how you learn. I’m sure that he’ll be better when he plays more.”
Unsurprisingly, Bumrah was the pick of Indian bowlers conceding just 23 runs from his four overs, two of those in the death. The pacer said the key to performing on such pitches was to be adaptable and not go with a fixed plan.
“We don’t plan too much. We saw the wicket and had a chat with our bowling coach. ‘What kind of wicket do you think this is? This is what we’re trying to do’. We were backing ourselves and trying to execute that,” he explained.
“You can’t have a fixed plan. You can change your plan according to the wicket. Over here, if you have a fixed plan of bowling slower balls, (it won’t work because) he (Colin Munro) was hitting the slower balls really well. So you have to change your plan during the match. At that time, you have to ask questions to seniors — that I always do — on what’s happening and what change I can make. That was the main plan I had today.”
The plans worked for Bumrah, but with the other bowlers leaking runs, Munro raced to his second T20I century to set up a big win. It didn’t help that the hosts dropped the opener twice and also missed a simple run out chance.
Bumrah rued those missed chances but stressed India were not caught by surprise by New Zealand’s attacking approach after surrendering the first T20I.
“See, this was a difficult wicket. With the new ball when we were bowling, the ball was coming on to the bat really well and they had a good start,” Bumrah explained. “For us, it was how much we can contribute. We were trying our best. Munro was going berserk and he was lucky as well, (had we taken) one or two catches here and there it would have been different. But we were just trying to create pressure but it’s okay, it happens. Somedays, some of your plans don’t work but it’s okay.
“In this format, you’re never surprised because on a given day any batsman can hit you. He was a bit lucky as well, we dropped a few catches but I’m not taking credit away from him. He played really well, so credit to him. He has done well in the CPL and other leagues. He has experience in those and played well. We were not surprised, we got to know about their team and we knew they were going to make changes. We were not surprised they dropped Tom Latham who had done well in the ODIs.”
In a largely pleasant interaction, the only time Bumrah lost his cool — only slightly — was when it was suggested India should have perhaps practised on the eve of the match.
“We’ve been playing for a long period of time so we were having our recovery and were training,” Bumrah retorted. “We were not just sitting in the hotel and sleeping. We were training there as well. If we had won the match, this sentence (question) would have been different, but it’s okay. It’s fine.”