Mohammed Siraj lost his father in November 2020 while he was on tour of Australia with Team India.© AFP
India pacer Mohammed Siraj has revealed that words of encouragement from head coach Ravi Shastri during the team’s tour of Australia made him change his mind about returning home after his father’s death. “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 are with you),” was what Shastri told him before the second Test in Melbourne, according to the speedster.
Siraj received the news of his father’s death on November 20, less than a month before the blockbuster four-match Test series was set to begin in Adelaide. He was indecisive until Shastri intervened and motivated him.
The 27-year-old Siraj bagged five wickets for 77 runs on his Test debut at the hallowed Melbourne Cricket Ground.
“Match ke baad Ravi sir ne bahut khus hokar bola, tujhe bola tha na 5 wickets milega (Ravi sir said after the match: ‘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.
Not just Shastri but the entire team management was supportive of Siraj, who plays under skipper Virat Kohli in IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“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.
“When I lost my father during the Australia tour, both Ravi sir and bowling coach Bharat Arun sir were so supportive.”
He grabbed a five-wicket innings haul in Australia’s second innings in the fourth and final Test in Brisbane as India won the match for a historic 2-1 series triumph.
Siraj is currently in England with the Indian team for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and a five-match series against hosts England.
The Hyderabad speedster has so far picked 16 wickets in five Tests and three wickets in three T20 Internationals.
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