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IPL 2023: Genuine pace, killer yorker behind Siraj leading wicket-takers chart, says Brett Lee

New Delhi : One of the most impressive stories in IPL 2023 has been the stellar bounceback of Mohammed Siraj after an unimpressive last season. In 2022, Siraj was a pale shadow of his dominating present self, taking only nine wickets in 15 games at an economy rate of 10.08, apart from conceding 31 sixes in the league.
But in IPL 2023, Siraj has literally turned a corner, becoming a mainstay with the ball for Royal Challengers Bangalore and leading the wicket-takers chart with 13 scalps at an average of 15.46 and economy rate of 7.17.
What also stands out from Siraj’s performances in IPL 2023 has been his spells at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. At a stadium considered as a graveyard for the fast bowlers due to its small boundaries and nature of the pitch allowing the batters to play their shots, spells of 1/21, 3/22, 2/23, 1/30 and 1/39 show Siraj has been able to hold his own at Chinnaswamy.
In the power-play of IPL 2023, Siraj has been highly impactful, picking seven wickets at an average of 11.14 and economy rate of just 4.87.Former Australia speedster Brett Lee believes Siraj’s genuine pace coupled with a killer yorker in his armory has propelled his rise to being the current leading wicket-taker in the tournament.
“In my opinion, why he’s at the top of the table with 13 wickets is because of his pace. He’s got genuine pace, can shape the ball away and angle the ball back in to the right-handed batter, as well as angle the ball away from the left-hander to induce the nick. But while bowling in that mid to late period, like bowling the 14th over or 19/20th over, he’s got a killer yorker.” said Lee in a virtual interaction organised by JioCinema, where he’s an expert for 2023 IPL.
“We saw on a number of occasions in the first few games, that he absolutely nails his yorker. I have always said the team which can close out the death overs with their bowlers will be the team that will go on to be successful. So, RCB are very lucky that they have got a guy like Mohammed Siraj, who can charge in at every single day. To be honest, I am not surprised that he’s on top of the tree,” he added.
Apart from Siraj, left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh had been impressive in the last week, in a death-overs masterclass and taking Punjab Kings to a 13-run win over Mumbai Indians. Arshdeep, who’s carved a reputation as a dependable death overs bowler for Punjab and India, mixed his yorkers and slower balls really well in dismissing Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma and Nehal Wadhera in back-end of the innings to stall Mumbai’s charge for victory.
Lee was impressed with Arshdeep leading Punjab’s pullback in the last five overs and reckons the young pacer could play a pivotal role in the side breaking into top four of the points table. “I have really enjoyed watching Arshdeep Singh bowl. He’s currently sitting in second position for the purple cap because he’s a quality bowler.
He takes wickets upfront and can strike in the middle period. But most importantly, he’s a great death bowler. So, he’s been a great find for the Punjab Kings,” the Australian said.”This year, I would really love to see Punjab Kings get higher up on the leaderboard and really wish they get higher up. He’s a guy I believe will propel them up to the top four. If they get to the top four, then they have a team that can definitely do it (to win the trophy,” he added.
The 46-year old Lee also urged Sunrisers Hyderabad to give Umran Malik a chance to bowl in power-play, citing the potential he has in taking wickets upfront with his tearaway pace.In IPL 2023, Malik has picked just five wickets in six games, with an average of 30.80 and economy rate of 9.62.
“Umran Malik bowled only once in power-play and went for 20-odd runs. But that was a one-off occasion. It’s like saying to a batter that if you get a duck, you will never get to bat in the game. You gotta have faith in these people and have the commitment in these guys coming through.
I would give a fast bowler in the IPL the brand-new ball and provide them with the correct field. Also, give them the confidence to bowl that over as what happens is, they will use other bowlers and then bring in Umran Malik in the eighth/ninth over. Generally, a batter is set and there might be none for 70 or 80 in their eight or nine overs and then Umran comes to bowl with the old ball,” said Lee.
“My advice would be to give him a couple of games with the new ball and if he’s got the confidence of the skipper, then there’s a good chance he will succeed with the new ball. If you ask any batter whether they would face Malik in the ninth or first over, then I can promise you they would say that they would rather face him when the ball is old,” he concluded.



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