In the last few years, India’s Mohammed Siraj has improved by leaps and bounds, with his performance against England during their 2021 Test tour being one of the highlights of his rise in international cricket. During that series, the aggressive fast bowler detailed his complete confrontation with the veteran English pacer James Anderson.
When England hosted India for the first Test match of the series in Nottingham, it was a combative affair between two cricketing powers. The Asian team was in a strong position after restricting the hosts to 183 runs in their first innings. The visitors struggled in their response, but their lower-order batsmen, headed by Ravindra Jadeja’s dogged fifty, frustrated the Three Lions.
Following Mohammed Siraj’s partnership with Jasprit Bumrah, the Indian tail wagged against the English bowlers, and veteran pacer James Anderson engaged in a verbal altercation with Siraj. After nearly two years, Siraj revealed the details of his infamous altercation with the Englishman.
“While I was at bat, Anderson was bowling. Me and Jassi-bhai [Bumrah] were batting, and for us, every ball was a free strike; all we had to do was swing the bat. Anderson approached me and verbally assaulted me. I was furious and told him, “Wait until you take the field against me”
When he strode out to bat, I approached him and said, ‘You’ve taken 600 wickets, but I don’t care. You lack regard for me.’ Anderson was enraged by this and approached [Indian captain] Virat Kohli, asking, ‘What is he thinking? Is he sane or insane?’ Siraj disclosed his exchange with James Anderson on Breakfast with Champions, stating, “My words affected him and wounded his ego.”
Siraj has become an indispensable member of the Bangalore bowling attack.
The match resulted in a draw after rain spared the home team’s honor on the final day of the first Test. However, it was the Indian pacer who had the last chuckle in the duel, as he cleaned up Anderson in the subsequent Test match to secure a historic victory at Lord’s for the Indian team.
Hyderabad’s 29-year-old pacer has been an integral part of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bowling attack and was in the running for the IPL 2023 Purple Cap after a scintillating start to the current season. After a couple of fruitless forays with the ball, he has been surpassed by his compatriot Mohammed Shami.