Mohammed Siraj recalled the time Virat Kohli gave him ‘life’s best surprise’ by visiting his Hyderabad home. The India and Royal Challengers Bangalore pacer, speaking on the RCB podcast, said that the fomer Indian captain’s visit was a special moment for people who live in Toli Chowki – his residence. 

Siraj made his India and IPL debut under Kohli. Over the course of the last one year, the Hyderabad bowler has become of the country’s mainstays across formats. 

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However, his journey has been filled with struggles. In his first nine matches in the IPL, Siraj picked seven wickets at an economy rate of nearly 10. Bangalore lost six straight games at the start and finished at the bottom. The pacer, in a recent interview, revealed that he was asked to “quit cricket and drive auto” with his father after a poor 2019 IPL season, making him think that his career in the league was over. 

Now, the 27-year-old is one of the three players retained by the franchise that is still eying its first ever title in the lucrative league. Riding on his impressive showing in the 2020 season, Siraj made his India debut during the team’s tour of Australia, where he cemented his place with a magnificent five-wicket haul in the triumphant Gabba Test.

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Recalling the time when Kohli surprised him, Siraj said,”I told (Virat) bhaiyya that I wanted to invite everyone home. He said, ‘Don’t worry, all of us will come’. I went home from the hotel. When I called him him up, he said ‘I have a stiff back brother, I can’t come.’ I just told him to rest; that is all I could have said.”
The Hyderabad player further added that Kohli alongwith a couple RCB players still visited his home in Toli Chowki. 

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“But, when the cars came, I saw (Virat) bhaiyya get off the car. Everyone was there, PP (Parthiv Patel) bhai, (Yuzvendra) Chahal bhai. I just ran towards bhaiyya. That surprise that I got, that was was my life’s best surprise. Because bhaiyya had said he wouldn’t be able to come. It became a big news — Virat Kohli has come to Toli Chowki,” Siraj said on the podcast. 

He further added that the former RCB captain’s visit cheered everyone up. 

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“I had informed at home that Virat bhaiyya wouldn’t be coming. There was a sense of sadness. When they had heard initially that bhaiyya was coming, they were so excited and were deciding what clothes to wear. Their faces went down when they were told bhaiyya wouldn’t come. They still readied everything once I told them that the rest of the RCB players would be coming. Then bhaiyya came and as the saying goes – ‘chaar chaand laga diya’ (to make something more beautiful),” he added. 

Siraj is a part of India’s squad for the T20I series versus West Indies. He was benched in the first two games. However, with the series sealed, the team management are likely to get him in the playing 11.