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'This boy has become a man on this tour'

By Rediff Cricket
January 18, 2021 18:40 IST
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WATCH: The Indian team applauds Mohammed Siraj who picked his first five-for in Test cricket on Day 4 of the final Test at the Gabba in Brisbane, January 18, 2021. Video: Kind courtesy BCCI/Twitter

Mohammed Siraj likely never expected to bowl in any of India's four Tests against Australia. After all, the frontline Indian bowlers were Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah.

Shami was ruled out with a fractured elbow after the first Test at Adelaide, and Siraj found himself included in the Indian team for the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Siraj bowled with fire and guile in the MCG Test and in the Test that followed at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

When Bumrah was ruled out of the final Test at the Gabba in Brisbane, Siraj -- just two Tests old -- became the leader of the Indian bowling attack.

It has been a tough tour for the Hyderabadi youngster. He has lived in a bio bubble since July -- first for the IPL, then for the Australian tour.

Tragically, his father, who had worked hard as an autorickshaw driver to raise his family, passed away when Siraj was in Australia.

His mother asked her son not to return for the funeral. The best memorial for his father, his family told Siraj, was to do all he could to make India win.

Siraj -- who won the hearts of all of India when he cried during the rendition of the National Anthem before the SCG Test -- has made his family and his nation proud by his first Test five-wicket haul on the fourth day of the final Test at the Gabba.

The Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore pacer has played three Test matches and taken 13 wickets.

As he led his side off the field, Siraj was applauded by his team-mates and then hugged by pace spearhead 'Boom Boom Bumrah' who missed the game with an abdomen injury -- an image that has wowed the cricketing world.

Leading the applause for Siraj -- who turns 27 on March 13 -- was Virender Sehwag, the only Indian to score two triple Test hundreds.

'The boy has become a man on this tour,' declared Sehwag.

'Siraj, leader of the attack in his first Test series and he has led from the front. The way newcomers have performed for India on this tour will be etched in memories for a long long time. Will be fitting if they retain the trophy,' Sehwag tweeted.

'Given Mohammed Siraj lost his dad while in Australia and chose to stay on tour, you have to feel very pleased for him that he has ended the series with his first 5 wicket haul in Test cricket,' West Indies pace great and commentator Ian Bishop tweeted.

'Wonderful moment for Mohammed Siraj,' former England women's cricketer and commentator Isha Guha tweeted. 'Deserving in so many ways but even more so because of what he's been through the last few months. His father would be so proud'.

Mohammed Siraj

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England's tour of India 2021

England's tour of India 2021