Mohammed Siraj's bizarre explanation on frustrated reaction after Smith stops him in delivery stride during WTC Final

Jun 09, 2023 09:16 AM IST

Mohammed Siraj also shared his views on the short-ball plan against Travis Head which fetched him the big wicket on Day 2

It wasn't the start and thereafter, not the day that India would have wanted. Against a dominant batting display from Australia with a well-set Steve Smith and Travis Head at the crease, the best time for Indian bowlers to inflict damage was in the first hour of Day 2. But instead, two dismal deliveries from Mohammed Siraj saw Smith reach to his triple-figure mark, third at the Oval and ninth against India before the pacer got into a heated duel with the batter which did not leave the viewers impressed. Siraj later clarified his take on the on-field act with a bizarre explanation.

India's Mohammed Siraj in action with Australia's Steve Smith (Action Images via Reuters)
India's Mohammed Siraj in action with Australia's Steve Smith (Action Images via Reuters)

It had happened right in the first over on Day 2 of the WTC Final where Siraj bowled two back-to-back half-volleys which Smith converted into boundaries to become the second batter in the Aussie line-up to get to a hundred after Travis Head. In the next ball, Smith pulled out in the last moment citing some issue with the spider cam while Siraj was into his run up. Frustrated at been hit for consecutive boundaries, Siraj angrily threw the ball at Smith. The batter kept explaining that it was because of the camera but the pacer was not impressed at all.

At the end of Day 2, when Siraj was asked to explain the reason behind his act, he said he was only "enjoying" it.

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"It's nothing. It was just some enjoyment. If you enjoy - your mind will be relaxed. If you take too much pressure, it will affect your bowling. So, it's nothing," he said.

When further pressed on whether it was part of his plan to agitate Smith, he said: "It was nothing. No plans of frustrating him. I was just enjoying my bowling. I was frustrated at that time."

Smith went on to score 121 while Head scored a record 163 in their 285-run stand as Australia posted a total of 469 in the first innings.

The right-arm pacer also shared his views on the short-ball plan against Head which fetched him the big wicket on Day 2. Siraj explained that it was a strategy for the Indian pacers against the Aussie batter and that the team stuck to it throughout.

"We planned and came today that we will keep attacking with Travis Head with bouncers. We told ourselves that if he hits those bouncers, then no problem, but we will stick to our plan and we got our success," Siraj said.

"We tried bowling bouncers to Travis Head yesterday also, We created chances but they all fell in the gaps. We created a lot of chances. 4 or 5 chances fell in the gap in my bowling. If it had gone to hands, it would have been a different story," he added.

"We tried yesterday also, but when the ball became softer, we had to bowl a stump line, bowl tight. It was a bad day in the office for us.

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