Siraj Mohammad (right) with his father Ghouse Mohammad
Hyderabad-based India 'A' pacer Mohammad Siraj would have been rather disappointed at having to sit on the bench during the three-day warm-up match against Australia at the Brabourne Stadium recently. The match ended on Sunday, but the very next day, the 22-year-old, who hails from a very modest background, was pleasantly surprised to be picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad at the IPL Player Auction in Bangalore yesterday for a whopping Rs 2.6 crore. He had a base price of Rs 10 lakh.
"I'm overjoyed. I have no words to express my feelings. I never thought about the money, so I was not worried about it. I just wanted a chance to play in the IPL, but it was exciting to see the way they (team owners) were bidding for me. I never thought I'd be bought for such a big price," Siraj, who took 41 wickets in the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy season, told mid-day over the phone from Hyderabad.
"When I played my first Ranji Trophy game for Hyderabad two years ago, I had dreamt of playing in the IPL and for my country. One dream has come true, and my sole focus now is the India cap," added Siraj, who replaced the injured Shardul Thakur for Rest of India against Gujarat in the Irani Cup tie, scoring 26 off 31 deliveries, batting at No. 11 and claiming two for 39.
Siraj and his family live in a small, rented flat near Banjara Hills area. His father Ghouse Mohammad has been driving an autorickshaw for the last 30 years, but not anymore, insists the young cricketer. "From now on, my father will never drive an auto rickshaw. I have seen my parents struggle with financial problems for so many years. Now, I want them to enjoy a good life," he added.