As in the years past, yesterday's Indian Premier League (IPL) auction saw some inspiring stories.
Mohammed Siraj, the Hyderabad-based 22-year-old right-arm medium-fast bowler was picked up for a whopping ₹2.6 crore by defending champions, Hyderabad Sunrisers, for the 10th edition of IPL. Siraj had a base price of ₹20 lakh.
Siraj made his first-class debut for Hyderabad in a Group C clash against Services in the 2015/16 Ranji Trophy. His excellent run in the tournament earned him a spot in the IPL.
Siraj played 9 matches and picked up 41 wickets at an average of 18.92 runs. His consistency through the entire tournament ensured that he was the third highest wicket-taker. His nine-wicket haul in the quarter-finals nearly upset Mumbai.
Siraj followed that with nine wickets in the Inter-State T20s and had an economy rate of 6.57 runs.
"I am very happy after being selected for the IPL," Siraj told ANI. "It was my dream to get selected in the IPL. I think my performance in the Ranji Trophy has earned me the spot."
Siraj's father Ghouse Mohammad drives an autorickshaw and his mother Shabana Begum used to work in other houses until last year to make ends meet. The pacer says that he is indebted to his parents for their sacrifices to make him a professional cricketer.
"From now on, my father will never drive an auto rickshaw," Siraj said in an interview with Mid-Day. "I have seen my parents struggle with financial problems for so many years. Now, I want them to enjoy a good life."
"Mere walid saab ne bahot mehnat ki hain (My father worked very hard)," he told PTI. "He drove an auto all these years but never let the financial pressure of the family affect me or my elder brother. A bowling spikes cost a lot and he would just get the best for me. I want to buy a house for them now in a good locality."
Speaking to PTI, Siraj also recalled the first time he made money as a cricketer. "Today, I remember my first income playing cricket," he said. "It was a club match and my maternal uncle was the captain of the team. I got nine wickets for 20 odd runs in that 25-over game. My uncle was so happy he gave me ₹500 as prize. It was a great feeling. But today when the bid was raised to ₹2.6 crore, I just went numb."
(With inputs from PTI & ANI)
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