Before making his Test debut, on Saturday, Mohammed Siraj had featured in 3 T20Is and a single ODI for India. In a surprising selection, Siraj was added to India’s Test squad, in October, for the Border Gavaskar Trophy. After being overlooked in the 1st Test, Siraj made it to the playing XI for the Boxing Day Test and, as it unfolded, the pacer did not disappoint.
The 26-year-old claimed figures of 2/40 on Day 1, as Australia were bundled up for 195 in the 1st innings, at the MCG. It was Mohammed Shami’s injury that made way for Siraj in the playing XI but his performance, which has been lauded by many, is testimony to his determination amid personal tragedy.
Soon after India landed in Australia, Mohammed Siraj lost his ailing father Mohammed Ghouse on November 20. The right-arm pacer had heard the news of his father’s demise after a practice session in Sydney. Due to the quarantine rules in Australia, enforced due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 26-year-old wasn’t able to attend the last rites of his father.
Siraj stayed back in Australia to fulfil his father’s lifelong dream – for the pacer to play Tests for India. As the dream was fulfilled, Siraj’s elated brother Ismail, who is also the cricketer’s manager, shared his joy on Saturday.
“It was my (late) father’s dream that Siraj should represent India in Tests … he always wanted to see him (Siraj) in blue and white jersey to represent the nation, so our dream got fulfilled today,” Ismail told PTI from Hyderabad.
“Since the team was announced yesterday, we knew that he was going to make debut. We did not sleep the entire night, we switched on TV from 4am,” said Ismail.
Siraj, who was eager to bowl in the 1st session, was given the ball by captain Ajinkya Rahane only after Lunch. Ismail revealed that his brother called their mother after the day’s play.
“We were waiting eagerly when he will bowl … intezaar badhte jaa raha tha (our wait was getting longer) … but after lunch break he started the first over and (the wait) ended,” Ismail said.
“I chatted with him through messages, I did not disturb him much as he was tired and there is again play tomorrow. However, he called up Ammi (mother),” Ismail revealed.
After Australia were bowled out for 195, India put 36/1 at end of play on Day 1 in Melbourne with Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara unbeaten.