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Mohammed Siraj (above) had played alongside Ashish Nehra for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the IPL 2017 BCCI

India‘s teenage fast bowler from Hyderabad Mohammed Siraj‘s dreams came true when he earned his maiden called up for Team India for the three-match T20I series against visitors New Zealand, starting Wednesday. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, on the eve of the series, Siraj credited veteran Indian fast bowler Ashish Nehra for his call-up. Siraj had played alongside Nehra for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the IPL 2017, where he had received a lot of bowling tips from him, which allowed him to improve his game. Nehra is all set to play his final international match in the first T20I at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: India vs New Zealand 2017-18, 1st T20I at Delhi

On crediting Nehra for his useful bowling tips: “I have played with Nehra bhai at Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL 2017. He has given me a lot of tips during net sessions. The tips helped me improve my game a lot. He never made me feel that he was a player who has played 20 years of cricket. He treated me like a younger brother. He told me how to fool a batsman with variations. Ball aise pakad, aur aise daal [Grip the ball and bowl this way]. Batsmen ke footwork ko dhyaan se dekh aur fir line aur length change kario [Watch the batsman’s footwork closely and then change the line and length accordingly]. His pep talk has helped me take my game to next level. He has told me how to read a batsman’s mind,” said Siraj in an exclusive interview with NDTVSports.

On Nehra’s career: It needs a lot to serve 20 years to cricket. Nehra has done it. He is a legend. He deserves a fitting farewell. I am not sure whether I will play in the opening T20I or not, but If I will get a chance, it is going to be a very big moment for me. First donning India colours and sharing the same field with my favourite captain Virat Kohli and Nehra.

On how IPL helped him: My father is an auto-rickshaw driver. He has done a lot hard work to make me a cricketer. I didn’t want to let his hard work go in vain. Thankfully, I got the IPL call-up. IPL was a turning point. I am pretty good now [financially]. I have seen tough times in my life. My father has provided me with everything without any if or but. He wanted me to represent India someday. I am a proud son now. I don’t let my father drive the auto-rickshaw anymore. I have asked him sit at home, relax and enjoy his life.

On his Team India call-up: Honestly, I didn’t expect the call-up this soon. I knew that some time in future I will surely represent the country, but not this early. I can’t tell you how happy I am. When I told my parents, they were happy and speechless at the same time. It’s a dream come true for me.

On Rahul Dravid as a coach: Just like his batting, he is an excellent coach too. He told me one thing not to experiment with my bowling style and run-up. He said, bowl as you have been doing and you will improve automatically with time.

On looking up to Mitchell Starc: I want to bowl like him. I love the way he intimidates batsmen and takes wicket. He is an asset to the team and I want to be the same for Team India someday.