India’s tour of Australia in 2020/21 was a memorable one for cricket fans. Team India managed to defeat Australia 2-1 in the four-match Test series despite missing players like Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Hanuma Vihari and KL Rahul during different parts of the contest. Several young players stepped up to the mark and performed exceptionally for India. One of those players was fast bowler Mohammed Siraj.
The 25-year-old pacer made his debut in the second Test in Melbourne and immediately made his mark in international cricket. Eventually, Siraj ended up as the highest wicket-taker for India with 13 wickets in the Border- Gavaskar Trophy 2020/21.
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What makes his performance even more praise-worthy was that Siraj had lost his father when he was touring Australia for series. However, he decided to stay back to fulfill his father’s wish of playing for India. Siraj recently revealed what India head coach Ravi Shastri had said when he heard of the his father’s passing.
“Virat Bhai is always there. When I couldn’t perform well in the IPL two years back, he showed faith in my ability. He retained me in RCB and I am grateful for this,” said Siraj. He is excited about National team’s coach Ravi Shastri’s role in his tough time. Siraj said, “When I lost my father during the Australia tour, both Ravi sir and bowling coach Bharat Arun sir were so suuportive. Ravi sir came to me and told, tu test match khel, dekh tereko 5 wickets milega. Tere Daddy ka dua tera saath hoga (You play the test match. You will get 5 wickets as your father’s blessings will be with you). Match ke baad Ravi sir ne bahut khus hokar bola, tujhe bola tha na 5 wickets milega (I told that you will be getting five wickets). I became very confident after my coaches encouraged me in such a way,” Siraj told ABP news.
Siraj also claimed a five-wicket haul in the second innings of the historic Gabba Test. Now, he will look to play a part in India’s quest for a World Test Championship title.