‘That's why Shami sitting outside’: Irfan Pathan drops ultimate praise for Siraj after Asia Cup final heroics
Siraj's efforts helped India pack Sri Lanka for 50 in just 15.2 overs leaving his side with mere formalities.
India produced a dominant show in the Asia Cup 2023 final as Rohit Sharma and Co. demolished Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in Colombo on Sunday. Dictating the proceedings from the word go, Jasprit Bumrah helped India make the first inroad in the first three deliveries. Mohammed Siraj, who shared the new ball duties with Bumrah, then joined the party and turned the match entirely into India's favour by the end of fourth over.
Siraj started his spell with a maiden, and then claimed four wickets in his second as Sri Lanka lost half their side by the end of four overs with 12 on the board. The pacer went to add another wicket to his tally and ended with figures reading 6/21 in 7 overs.
Siraj's efforts helped India pack Sri Lanka for 50 in just 15.2 overs leaving his side with mere formalities. The left and right combo of Ishan Kishan and Shubman Gill then wrapped the chase in just 6.1 overs.
Siraj was preferred above the experienced Mohammed Shami in the continental showdown and he surely lived up to the expectation. While there is very little to none, which separates the two, former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan made an interesting argument explaining why a bowler of Shami's caliber is sitting out.
"You might see the degree of swing but the late swing and control you saw in Mohammed Siraj's bowling, that is why a bowler like Mohammed Shami is sitting outside. You won't find an international team where a wicket-taker who bowls with an upright seam like Mohammed Shami doesn't get a place in the playing XI.
“So who is playing in place of him (Shami) - a bowler (Siraj) who swings the ball both ways and bowls around 140 kph. So you need to do something special. He is doing special things but what he did today was extremely special,” said Pathan during a discussion on Star Sports.
Irfan continued to heap praises and noted that Sri Lanka could have handled the situation better but Siraj's bowling ensured they continue to make errors. He also spoke about the pacer's length as he was seen bowling a majority of deliveries in the slot.
"You might feel the Sri Lankan batters could have done better but Mohammed Siraj forced them to make mistakes. It was high-class bowling. He tried to dismiss batters by making them drive.
"Sadeera Samarawickrama's wicket - there was no square leg and he bowled inswing. He deceived Charith Asalanka with a fuller length. The ball was either going away or coming in, or he was using the angle. He showed that it is not a bad thing to bowl in the slot, around the four-meter length, with the new ball," the ex-cricketer added.