Mohammed Siraj donned the Indian jersey for the first time on Saturday when India took on New Zealand in the 2nd T20 encounter of the 3-match T20 series. Siraj was handed the cap in the team huddle before the toss. Emotions got better of the young pacer from Hyderabad when he lined up with the Indian national cricket team for the national anthem before the clash. To play for the national team is a dream for every professional sportsperson and it was no different for Siraj who was in tears seeing his dream come true.

Team India as per the pre-match rituals, were in a hurdle at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot, the crowd was all in and settled ready to see their stars square off. Among all, there was one new face in the circle, Mohammed Siraj, son of an auto-rickshaw driver was standing tall and proud alongside the stars he had grown up watching. Coach Ravi Shastri called the 23-year old forward and handed him his debut India cap. Siraj when came on the pitch with the other 10 players shouldering the responsibility and aspirations of millions of Indians he couldn’t control his emotions. As soon as the national anthem ended, Siraj was seen in tears.

Coming from a humble background, Siraj has grown through the ranks of IPL and India A to secure a spot in the Indian national team. After being picked by the IPL side Sunrisers Hyderabad, the pace sensation announced himself to the fans with impressive performances throughout the season. He continued the good work with the ball when India A played South Africa A in an away series. A convincing display against New Zealand back in India meant Siraj was considered for a national call-up.

Siraj had to wait for his chance as team India bid a deserving farewell to veteran Ashish Nehra with a comprehensive victory in the first T20 clash at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi. He got his opportunity in the next game as a replacement of Nehra. It would be an unforgettable day for Siraj, but he couldn’t create much of an impact with the ball as he finished his quota of 4 overs with figures of 53/1. He ended up as the most expensive bowler for India as New Zealand leveled the 3-match T20 series 1-1.

It’s a long way to go for Siraj from here as he could be a fitting answer to India’s pace woes. If he manages to impress with the ball without getting affected by injuries on the way, he might be a perfect limited overs bowling option for the Indian cricket team.