The son of an autorickshaw driver in Hyderabad, Siraj got hooked to the game while in class seven, after he was part of the team that won an inter-school tournament. From then on, he would frequently skip classes to play tennis-ball cricket. His pace and an ability to take wickets in clumps meant he acquired a cult status in the Banjara Hills locality. It wasn't until 2015 that Siraj took to playing with the cricket ball, upon a friend's insistence. He took took a slew of five-fors in his first few club matches and soon found himself in Hyderabad's Under-23 side, and then in the senior team.
In 2016-17, his first full season for Hyderabad, Siraj picked up 41 wickets at an average of 18.92 as Hyderabad made the Ranji Trophy knockouts for the first time since 2011-12. His nine-wicket haul in the quarter-finals then nearly caused an upset against Mumbai. Subsequently, he was picked in the Irani Trophy to play for the Rest of India.
In 2017, Siraj was picked by the Sunrisers Hyderabad for INR 2.6 crore from a base price of INR 20 lakh. While he picked up ten wickets in six games with a best of 4 for 32, his leaked runs at 9.21 per over. He moved to the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the next season, but didn't have the same success: 11 wickets in 11 games at an economy of 8.95. Those numbers only worsened in the 2019 season as he managed only seven wickets in nine outings at an economy 9.55.
Despite the hammering in the IPL, Siraj kept plugging away in domestic cricket. In the 2018 Vijay Hazare Trophy, he picked up three five-fors in seven matches to finish as the leading wicket-taker.
In the 2020 IPL, Siraj became the first bowler to deliver two maidens in an IPL match on his way to 3 for 8 against the Kolkata Knight Riders in Abu Dhabi. But there was nothing of that sort during the two practice games in Australia, even though he did pick up five wickets.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo