Australia’s captain, Pat Cummins, shrugged off concerns about dealing with the in-form Indian pacer, Mohammed Siraj, as the two teams prepare to face off in a three-match ODI series. Cummins, who is returning from an injury break, kept his response concise and straightforward when asked if Australia had a special plan to tackle Siraj.
A Dominant Force: Mohammed Siraj
The question about Mohammed Siraj’s prowess is not unwarranted, given the sensational performance he delivered against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup 2023 final. Siraj’s remarkable bowling display saw him achieve what was a game-changing milestone. He equalled the record for the joint-quickest five-wicket haul in an ODI, needing just 17 balls to decimate the Sri Lankan batting order.
In an impressive spell, Siraj bowled seven consecutive overs, ultimately finishing with figures of 6/21. This extraordinary performance helped India bundle out Sri Lanka for a mere 50 runs, marking the lowest total conceded by India while dismissing an opposition in ODI cricket. Siraj’s figures stood out as the best for India in the Asia Cup, and he came tantalizingly close to breaking the record for the best-ever bowling figures by an Indian in ODIs, held by Stuart Binny (6/5 against Bangladesh).
No Stranger to Australia
Despite his recent meteoric rise, Mohammed Siraj is not an unfamiliar name to the Australian cricket team. He made his Test debut in Australia and played a crucial role in India’s historic back-to-back Border-Gavaskar Trophy triumphs on Australian soil. Australia acknowledges the threat posed by Siraj, along with India’s pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah. Cummins, however, remained tight-lipped about the specific strategies they might employ to counter the Indian bowling attack.
Instead of divulging tactical details, Pat Cummins shed light on Australia’s primary objective in the ODI series – experimenting with different combinations to fine-tune their plans ahead of the ICC World Cup. Cummins stated, “We want to strike a balance between getting used to the conditions and getting a few wins under our belts. We don’t want to get to the first game (of the World Cup) under-prepared. We want to try out a few combinations, a few different players, but ideally, we have structured the combination we want to go about.”
The Search for Axar Patel’s Backup
For India, this series is an opportunity to identify a suitable backup for the injured Axar Patel, who sustained an injury during the Asia Cup. The team must choose between the experienced Ravichandran Ashwin and the young Washington Sundar to fill the crucial role.
As the ODI series unfolds, cricket enthusiasts eagerly await whether Mohammed Siraj can continue his sensational form against Australia, while both teams use this opportunity to fine-tune their strategies for the upcoming ICC World Cup.