'When I wore my cap in Melbourne, I thought, 'dad should've been here': India star recalls emotional debut in AUS series

Updated on Jun 08, 2022 09:17 AM IST

Despite playing just three matches, the India star finished as the third-highest wicket-taker in the series with 13 wickets. 

Indian team
Indian team

There is a reason why India's 2020/21 Test series win in Australia is one for the ages. More than just a historic double for the Asian giants, it was a hard-earned victory for the Indian team who went through pain, injuries, emotional turbulence and sacrifices through each of their steps until they scripted that sensational win in Gabba. And on Tuesday, a young India star, who had made his debut in that series in Australia recalled the most emotional moment of his career.

Mohammed Siraj was a back-up option when India travelled to Australia for the defend the Border-Gavaskar series. But Mohammed Shami's injury handed him his debut cap in the Melbourne Test and all Siraj could think of at that very moment was of his father, who had just passed away a few days before that.

Siraj scripted a memorable debut for India, picking 3 for 37 in the second innings that helped the visitors beat Australia by eight wickets and register a magnificent turnaround in the series following the infamous '36 all-out'.

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"It was really tough for me. My dad was ill during the IPL too. But family members hadn't told me that the matter was serious. I got to know about his condition when I landed in Australia," Siraj was quoted as saying by RCB in an article on their official website.

Siraj also recalled the moment he got to hear the new of his father's death and his mother's words to him. "There was Covid-19 protocol as well. We had to quarantine. When we had our practice, I got to know about dad's death. My mother made me strong during that period. She told me, 'Fulfil your dad's dream and make your country proud'. This was my only motivation. I didn't even know if I will get a chance to play. There were senior bowlers in the team."

Siraj pulled off a superb campaign in Australia, picking 13 wickets in the series, five of which came in the final tie in Gabba. He ended the series as the third-highest wicket-taker despite playing just three matches with only Pat Cummins and fellow RCB pacer Josh Hazlewood ahead of him.

"I finally got an opportunity in the second Test... When I wore my cap in Melbourne, I thought 'dad should've been here'. After Mohammed Shami got injured, I got a chance to play for India. One thing was there in my mind that I had performed well for India A and had scalped 8 wickets against Australia A. So, it gave me the confidence to do well in my first Test series for India," he added.

Siraj will next be seen in action in the upcoming tour of England where India will play the rescheduled fifth Test from the 2021 series.

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