India vs Australia: Ravi Shastri hails young bowler, calls him 'find of the tour'
Indian cricket team’s head coach Ravi Shastri hailed Mohammed Siraj, calling the fast bowler as the “find of the tour.”
Siraj, who made his Test debut during the Boxing Day Test at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), finished the series as India's leading wicket-taker with 13 scalps in three Tests, only behind Australia's duo of Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, who claimed 21 and 17 wickets respectively in four Tests.
The 26-year-old Siraj lost his father Mohammed Ghaus just days after landing in Australia from the UAE. However, after a discussion with his mother, Siraj decided to remain in Australia and not return home for his father's last rites. His late father wanted Siraj to play for India in the whites, which turned into reality when he was picked for the second Test.
During his maiden Test series, Siraj not only fought his emotional demons but also faced racial abuse at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
"Find of the tour for shoring up the bowling attack the way he did - Mohd Siraj. He fought through personal loss, racial remarks and channelised them to find a home in the team huddle," India head coach Shastri wrote on Twitter along with a picture of Siraj.
Find of the tour for shoring up the bowling attack the way he did - Mohd Siraj. He fought through personal loss, racial remarks and channelised them to find home in the team huddle 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/qkzpXgqQiX— Ravi Shastri (@RaviShastriOfc) January 22, 2021
The Hyderabad-based fast bowler played a vital role in India's win at the Gabba in the fourth Test. He returned with his Test career's first five-wicket haul and overall bagged six wickets as India defeated Australia by three wickets in the Brisbane Test. It was Australia's first Test loss at the Gabba, while India sealed the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2-1.
Upon returning to Hyderabad, Siraj directly went to the graveyard from the airport to pay his respect to his father.
"I didn't go home, directly. I went to the graveyard straight from the airport, I went there to sit with my dad for some time. I couldn't speak to him but offered flowers to his grave. And then I came home. When I met my mom, she started crying. Then I tried to console her, telling her not to cry. It was a different feeling. After 6-7 months, her son had come home. Mom was always waiting for me to return. She was counting down how many days were left for me to return," added Siraj in an interview.
Siraj, who has played seven matches for India across formats so far, was rewarded for his performances Down Under as he was included in the 18-man squad for the first two Tests of the four-match series against England, starting Feb. 5 in Chennai.