Mohammed Siraj narrated how Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri gave him confidence during the Australia series after informing about the death of his (Siraj’s) father. In an interview with the Times of India, Siraj recalled the winning moment in Australia.
Siraj recalls his father
Mohammed Siraj’s story is known to all. How he did not return to attend his father’s funeral during the Test series against Australia and how ended up as a match-winner for India became park of India’s cricketing folklore by now. Speaking about the incident, Siraj told Times of India, “Abbu always said ‘ beta ek din tujhe bahot naam kamana hai. India ke liye khelna hai‘ (Son, you have to make a name for yourself someday and have to play for India). Whenever I used to perform well whether in domestic matches, India A or IPL, he had a habit of collecting the newspaper articles and he used to keep those cuttings with him.”
He remembered the moment he came to know about his father’s demise. With a lump in his throat, he revealed, “It was a tough situation for me (in Australia). I was quarantined. I had locked myself in my room when I heard the news of my abba’s demise. He always blessed me and wanted to see me in an Indian Test jersey. I earned the jersey but my father wasn’t there to see me. I earned that for him because I was living his dream. He has struggled and supported me a lot.”
How the team motivated him
Fortunately, Siraj had the back of his coach and captain. “Virat bhai and Ravi sir came and told me about the news. I went inside the room and locked myself and started crying. I didn’t know what to do.” He continued how Ravi Shastri gave him the much-needed confidence after that. “After some time, Ravi sir came and said your father’s blessing will always be with you. He asked me to promise him that I will take a five-wicket haul in an innings to give tribute to my father. That was the biggest confidence booster for me. I am really proud and thankful that I managed to do that.” “Virat bhayia came and hugged me. I cried in front of him. He consoled me and gave me confidence. I told him I will stay and will play for my father. Virat bhaiya motivated me a lot at that moment.”
When Rishabh Pant hit the winning shot, an elated Siraj could be seen in the ground. Siraj told that he dedicated the win to his father. “When Pant hit that winning boundary, I just rushed out to the middle. I was speechless but was enjoying the moment. I had tears in my eyes. I was dedicating the win to my father. I loved him so much. Wish he was there to see me performing for India and win the series.” “The feeling is yet to sink in for me. It was my maiden Test series and to win a big series against a big team like Australia. Yes, we have defeated Australia in Australia.”