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Mohammed Siraj goes straight to his father's grave after landing in Hyderabad, dedicates series win to him

Hyderabad, January 21: India pacer Mohammed Siraj has returned home after helping Team India register a historic series-clinching win in the fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Brisbane. The Hyderabad cricketer - who picked up his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket at the iconic Gabba Stadium - returned to a hero's welcome in his home town.

The cricketer, however, upon landing in Hyderabad went straight to the grave of his father Mohammed Ghouse - who passed away in the month of November last year at a time when Siraj was serving the quarantine period with Team India in Sydney.

The right-arm pacer decided not to return home to attend the last rites due to bio-bubble restrictions with an eye on the coronavirus pandemic, instead chose to stay with his team and fulfil his father's dream i.e. to represent India. The cricketer made his Test debut on the tour and impressed everyone with his bowling performances in the three Tests he was a part of the Indian side.

Siraj picked up five wickets in the first innings of the Brisbane Test as an injury-ravaged Ajinkya Rahane-led Indian side restricted the Aussies to 338. India went on winning the game by three wickets and the won the four-match series 2-1.

Interacting with media persons upon his arrival in Hyderabad, Siraj said: "It was a difficult phase for me after I lost my father, but I have fulfilled his dream. I dedicate this victory to my father."

If this wasn't a blow enough, he was subject to racial slur on day two and three of the Pink Test in Sydney, and a formal complaint was filed by the Indian team. Siraj also had to face the brunt of an unruly crowd on the fourth day. But the Hyderabad speedster defied all odds and came out firing on all cylinders on day four of the series decider at The Gabba.

Siraj revealed that it has been very tough for him, but a phone call from his mother gave the pacer much-needed confidence to go out and express himself.

"I am thankful that I was able to pick five wickets as it was a very tough situation for me after my dad passed away. But after talking to my mom at home, I gained some confidence. The call with my mom made me mentally strong. My focus was to fulfil my dad's wish," said Siraj during the virtual press meet.

Siraj in the fourth Test showed why he was trusted to lead the attack after Jasprit Bumrah couldn't get ready for the game despite trying till the eleventh hour.

"I want to thank god that I got the chance to play for India as it was my dad's wish too. If he was alive today, he would have been very happy. But I know his blessings were with me and I am speechless after my performance," said Siraj.

 
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Story first published: Thursday, January 21, 2021, 17:58 [IST]
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