India pacer Mohammed Siraj revealed that words of encouragement from head coach Ravi Shastri during the team's tour of Australia made him change his mind about returning home after his father's death.
"'Tu Test match khel, dekh tereko 5 wickets milega. Tere Daddy ka dua tera saath hoga' (You play the Test match. You will get 5 wickets as your father's blessings are with you)," was what Shastri told him before the second Test in Melbourne, according to the speedster.
Siraj received the news of his father's death on November 20, less than a month before the four-match Test series started in Adelaide.
He was indecisive until Shastri intervened and motivated him.
The 27-year-old Siraj bagged five wickets on his debut in the second Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
"Match ke baad Ravi Sir ne bahut khus hokar bola, tujhe bola tha na 5 wickets milega (Ravi Sir was delighted, he said after the match see I told that you will be getting five wickets). I became very confident after my coaches encouraged me in such a way," Siraj told ABP news.
Not just Shastri but the entire team management was supportive of Siraj, who plays under skipper Virat Kohli in IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore.
"Virat bhai is always there. When I couldn't perform well in the IPL two years back, he showed faith in my ability. He retained me in RCB and I am grateful for this," said Siraj.
"When I lost my father during the Australia tour, both Ravi Sir and bowling coach Bharat Arun Sir were so supportive."
He grabbed a five-wicket innings haul in Australia's second innings in the fourth and final Test in Brisbane as India won the match for a historic 2-1 series triumph.
Siraj is currently in England with the Indian team for the ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand later this month the five-match series against hosts England starting in August.
The Hyderabad speedster has so far captured 16 wickets in five Tests and three wickets in three T20 Internationals.