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IPL 2024: Siraj needs rest, not only physical, mental as well, says Harbhajan Singh over pacer's poor form

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Mumbai, April 12 (IANS) Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh believes Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) fast-bowler Mohammed Siraj needs both mental and physical rest following another nightmarish outing in IPL 2024 against Mumbai Indians.

In six matches, Siraj has taken just four wickets, with his average and economy rate standing at 57.25 and 10.40 respectively. Siraj shone in IPL 2023 with 10 scalps coming at an economy rate of 5.9 in Power-play.

But in IPL 2024, he has an economy rate of 12.3 in Power-play and has conceded 10 sixes in this phase of the game for RCB. "He should be given rest for a couple of reasons. He should think about what has been happening in the team. He is the same Siraj that we have seen taking wickets with the new ball whether it's in Test cricket, one-day cricket or even this format in T20.”

“He has been a champion bowler for team India, and even for RCB, he has done well. But I feel he's not doing what he is required to do, he requires rest, not only mentally but physically as well because he has been playing a lot of cricket. He’s played four Tests against England, before that whatever series India was playing, he has already been a part of the team. And he bowls a lot of overs. So, for me, he looks a bit tired physically and mentally.”

“And with this kind of hammering, it's difficult for any bowler to wake up the next day and feel alright. I also went through these situations where I got hammered by different batters, you have to give yourself a bit of time to relax, think about your game and work hard in the nets, work on your game and come back stronger like we have seen Siraj and I'm sure he'll come back stronger," said Harbhajan on ‘Cricket Live’ show on Star Sports.

At the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday night, after making 196/8 with the bat, RCB conceded 72 runs for no scalps in the Power-play, as MI chased down the total in 15.3 overs. All RCB bowlers returned with an economy rate above 10, with their most economical bowler being pacer Vijaykumar Vyshak, who had figures of 1-32 in three overs at an economy rate of 10.7.

Brian Lara, the former Sunrisers Hyderabad head coach, also feels RCB’s batters have to make 20-30% more runs than usual due to the tendency of their bowling line-up being hit for big runs by the opposition batting units this time.

"They've got to understand that with the bowling attack that they've got, they have to try and hit 20 or 30% more runs because it's just not enough. So they need to break their innings together and say we need to get so much in the Power-play, middle overs and the death, but nobody is getting into batting form, nobody is getting into bowling form as well, and it's a team that is just not in the top 6 or 7 in this tournament.”

“They have to improve so much, to really be a factor, to sort of challenge the teams. Just like KKR have got a good bowling attack. So, it's good to see the batters getting runs but they need an injection of good bowlers and positive thinking in that squad."

"They've not been able to get it right at all, they are not bad bowlers. You look at Topley, you look at Siraj, they are international bowlers and I believe that something is wrong, they are not getting their gameplan properly, they are not bowling in areas that the batters are weak in.”

“I think they are just running in and bowling sort of into the pitch or up to the bat, not thinking of the weakness of the players. When bowling to Ishan Kishan you've got to get the ball to nip back into him and not give him any room. It's just so free for all," he concluded.

--IANS

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