Jatin ∙ Mar 13 2023, 3:45 PM

Siraj Speaks Up on Emotional Struggles During Australia Tour

image-lf6ui1ehMohammed Siraj's rise in international cricket has been inspiring (Twitter)

Indian pacer Mohammed Siraj, who celebrated his 29th birthday today, has overcome numerous trials and tribulations to earn his rightful place in the team's formidable pace battery. The Hyderabad-based cricketer's journey to success has been marked by myriad obstacles, most notably his personal loss during his inaugural test tour to Australia in 2020-21.

The passing of his father, Mohammed Ghaus, compelled Siraj to grapple with an emotional upheaval that he had to surmount to concentrate on his cricketing duties. 

In a recent interview on the RCB Season 2 Podcast, the speedster revealed the extent of his internal struggle whilst staying within the confines of the bio-bubble.

Additionally, the World No. 1 ODI bowler mentioned that he found solace in speaking with his fiance, whom he never wept in front of, though he admitted that he often cried alone in his quarters.

During his hour of need, Siraj received uplifting encouragement from then-head coach, Ravi Shastri. According to the bowler, the Indian veteran inspired him to channel his father's blessings to achieve a five-wicket haul, which he achieved at Brisbane.

“The day after my father passed away, I went to training, and Ravi Shastri encouraged me by telling me that my dad's blessings were with me and that I would take a five-wicket haul. When I achieved this feat in Brisbane, he reminded me of his words and said, 'Look, what did I tell you? You will take five wickets,” recounted Siraj.

Although Siraj yearned for his father's presence during such moments of glory, he recognized the immense pride and joy his father took in his accomplishments.

"At first, I thought the people were drunk when they called me 'black monkey' and made other racist comments in Australia, so I ignored them. But when it happened again the next day, I decided to go to the umpires and complain about the racism. I also told Ajju Bhai (Ajinkya Rahane) about the situation," the cricketer said.

The umpires offered to remove Siraj and Rahane from the field but Rahane retorted, stating that they respected the sanctity of the game and demanded that the abusive spectators be removed instead.

"The umpires told us that we were free to leave the ground until the matter was settled, but Ajinkya said, 'We respect cricket and why should we leave the ground? Remove those people who are abusive.' We then focused on cricket, and didn't let the hurtful comments distract us," concluded Siraj.