India fast bowler Siraj a 'rare talent', says Rohit
India skipper Rohit Sharma on Sunday lauded Mohammed Siraj as a "rare talent" after the fast bowler led the team's record 317-run demolition of Sri Lanka in the third one-day international.
Siraj returned figures of 4-32 to help dismiss the tourists for 73 in 22 overs after India posted 390-5 with Virat Kohli smashing an unbeaten 166 in Thiruvananthapuram.
The victory was the highest ever in ODI matches as India surpassed New Zealand's 290-run thrashing of Ireland in 2008.
Rohit said Siraj's control with the white ball has bolstered India's pace attack, which was without injured quick Jasprit Bumrah after he was withdrawn from the squad.
"The way he was swinging the ball, he is a rare talent," Rohit said of Siraj after India's 3-0 series sweep.
"The way he has come up in the last few years is good to see. He has come from strength to strength and that's really good for Indian cricket."
The 28-year-old Siraj, who made his international debut for India in a T20 match in 2017, said a bad Indian Premier League season spurred him to improve his white-ball game.
"When one of my IPL seasons went bad then I worked on my white-ball game," said Siraj, who claimed nine wickets in three matches.
"One or two performances helped me get confidence and I build on that. First I thought of my performance, then I realised performance or no performance I should execute each of my balls well."
He added: "Getting wickets with the new ball was important. And the opposition is on the back foot when you get early wickets."
Siraj said he is looking forward to bowling in his hometown Hyderabad, where India begin their ODI series against New Zealand on Wednesday.
Kohli stood out with a third century in his last four ODI matches as he put on big partnerships including a 131-run second-wicket stand with Shubman Gill, who made 116.
But the former captain, who recorded his 46th ODI century, praised Siraj for his exploits with the new ball.
"The way Siraj has come in and done with the new ball has been fantastic," said Kohli.
"He picks up wickets in the powerplay, which was an issue in the past. It is a great sign for us heading into the World Cup."
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