Moments after Mohammed Siraj finished his sixth over during the Asia Cup final, captain Rohit Sharma walked up to him on the bowler’s way to third-man, had a chat with him and he persisted with Siraj for another over.
But after the next over, despite an on-song Siraj likely to pick a seven-wicket haul — a rare achievement in ODIs — he was taken off the attack before Sri Lanka was bowled out for 50 at the R. Premadasa Stadium.
“He bowled seven overs in that spell, and seven overs is a lot. So, I got a message from the trainer that we have to stop him now,” Rohit said after lifting India’s eighth Asia Cup trophy.
“He (Siraj) was quite desperate to bowl. That is the nature of any batter or bowler, they want to pounce when they see any opportunity. That’s where my job comes in. I make sure that everyone stays a little calm and you don’t over-exert yourself.”
Rohit narrated a similar incident against the same opposition in Thiruvananthapuram earlier this year when he had to stop Siraj’s quest for a five-wicket haul. “I remember, Siraj was in a similar situation against Sri Lanka in Thiruvananthapuram, and he bowled some eight-nine overs on the trot. He was on four wickets then. So I think seven overs were enough,” Rohit said.
Rohit was thrilled with Siraj’s performance.
“It was very pleasing to watch from the slips. Siraj got the ball to move more than the other two. It depends, you know, every day, everyone cannot be a hero. That’s how the sport is so good because a different hero shows up each day,” Rohit said. “We were riding behind him (Siraj) when he was bowling that spell. We all complemented him.”