Returning back home after a historic win in Australia, Team India pacer Mohammed Siraj opened up on his experience as down under, the racial abuse incident at the SCG and leading the pace attack in the final Test at the Gabba. Moments after landing in Hyderabad, Siraj paid his last respects to his late father who had passed away while he was in Australia. The speedster had decided to stay back in Australia to perform despite being given the option to fly back home and also went on to register his maiden fifer at the Gabba in the absence of India's pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah.
Opening up on the loss of his father, Siraj said that he was depressed for a while but his family backed him and asked him to fulfil his father's dream - which was to see Siraj play Tests for India. The speedster also revealed that it was an 'emotional' moment for him and each wicket of the fifer that he registered at the Gabba was dedicated to his father.
"I was depressed. I also spoke to my relatives back home and they told me to fulfil my dad's dream. My fiance has also played a major role in backing me and motivating me. The team has also supported me. It was an emotional moment for me. I paid my respects to my dad," Siraj said while addressing the media on Thursday evening.
Telangana: Cricketer Mohammed Siraj today paid tribute to his late father at a graveyard in Hyderabad. Siraj's father passed away while he was in Australia for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. pic.twitter.com/54ZeZSLYNm— ANI (@ANI) January 21, 2021
"All my wickets were dedicated to my father. I never thought I would be the main bowler but so many injuries and the people trusted me. It was very challenging for me to be the lead bowler but I loved the challenge," he added. The Indian speedster who made his Test debut in the Boxing Day Test went on to become the highest wicket-taker for India in the Test series.
Speaking about the racial abuse incident during the third Test in Sydney, Siraj revealed that after he complained to skipper Ajinkya Rahane, who took the matter up to the officials, the umpire had asked the team members to leave the ground if they wanted to. However, Siraj added that Rahane countered the umpires on the field and asked them to remove the accused individuals from the ground. Siraj also stated that an inquiry is undergoing in Australia on the matter.
"The Australian crowd was abusing me but that only strengthened me mentally and I took it as a challenge to perform well. The case is ongoing, we'll see if justice is done. Umpire told us to leave the game, but Ajinkya Rahane told him that we won't leave and asked the umpire to remove the crowd," Siraj said in the briefing.
Team India players had complained of being subject to racial abuse during the third Test at the SCG. The touring party had registered an official complaint with the officials after Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj alleged that they were racially abused while fielding. Following the incident, Cricket Australia issued a statement reaffirming their 'zero tolerance' policy towards discriminatory behaviour. The board also launched an investigation parallel with the New South Wales police to probe the incident. They also 'unreservedly' apologized to the Indian team.
India created history at the Gabba on Tuesday after defeating Australia in the 4th Test thereby ending Australia's 31 Test unbeaten streak in Brisbane. Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar went all guns blazing in the final session to help India chase down the mammoth 326-run target set by Australia. Coming back from a humiliating loss at the Adelaide in the first Test, the Indian team led by stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane, despite being marred with injuries, went on to retain the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2-1.
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