Mohammed Siraj Asks Mother Shabana Begum For Prayers Before He Bags Four Wickets At Home Ground
Jan 19, 2023 at 1:59 PM
Mohammed Siraj was at home on match day too. The Hyderabad pacer finished with figures of 10-2-46-4, the best by a distance in the high-scoring India-New Zealand first ODI of the series. Mohammed Siraj’s bowling went a long way in India recording a 12-run win.
Had it not been for the local boy’s fine show with the ball, Kiwi batter Michael Bracewell (140 off 78 balls) threatened to run away with the match. In the company of Mitchell Santner, he launched a stunning onslaught that left India short on answers as he was the last wicket to fall.
The left-hander brought up his century of 57 balls and despite the asking rate mounting, kept the Black Caps in the mix. The dismissal of Mitchell Santner changed the tide and despite Michael Bracewell’s fighting innings, New Zealand fell short by 12 runs.
Mohammed Siraj’s Mother Shabana Begum Was Praying As Her Son Bowled India To Victory
When the local boy Hyderabad’s Mohammed Siraj ran to bowl, during his 10-2-46-4 game-changing spell, mother Shabana Begum hardly moved; she was deeply engrossed in prayer.
For Mohammed Siraj, it was a perfect outing. The Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium is the place where Mohammed Siraj first made a name for himself. Plucked from Hyderabad’s ‘maidans’ where he played tennis ball cricket, Mohammed Siraj is one of India’s lead pacers across formats these days.
Although the pacer didn’t turn up for the optional net session on the eve of the game, as he boarded the team bus on the morning of the match, his memory might well have rolled a few years back. It is the same route that Mohammed Siraj in his formative years used to take on his two-wheeler Bajaj Platina – filling petrol for Rs 60 from the pocket money that his father gives.
This time, due to security protocols, the local police had totally cordoned off that road. But still, the Hyderabadis – 31, 187 to be precise — flocked in to see one of their own wearing the India jersey on home soil. Among those were Mohammed Siraj’s close circle of family and friends seated in a corporate box in the second floor, who have been waiting for the moment ever since the pacer donned the India cap.
The capacity crowd had already been treated to fireworks from Shubman Gill who scored 208. As pacer Mohammed Shami completed the first over and Mohammed Siraj picked the new ball, the crowd got another chance to increase the decibel levels in the stadium.
As the unifying roar hit the crescendo, Shabana Begum, Mohammed Siraj’s mother could no longer sit in the front-row chair of the corporate box balcony. With her sister next to her as the crowd chanted Mohammed Siraj’s name, she was overwhelmed with emotions, holding on to the grill railing tightly.
Even as others engaged in a conversation, she just stood still. She was oblivious to all that was happening around her. As much as this was Mohammed Siraj’s moment, this was hers too. For a brief period, it looked like she was in her own world, where only the son and mom were around.
Right through Mohammed Siraj’s first spell — he bounced out Devon Conway to break New Zealand early into the chase of 350 – where he had figures of 5-2-20-1, Shabana Begum hardly moved. She would sit silently, deeply engrossed in prayer whenever Mohammed Shami ran in from the other end. And it was precisely what Mohammed Siraj had wanted from her – prayers – the day he landed in Hyderabad.
Mohammed Siraj Wanted His Family To Be At Hyderabad Stadium And Made All Arrangements
On Monday he made a surprise visit to his mother at the home, from the team hotel.
“I was offering Namaz… and when I opened my eyes, my Miya was there, saying ‘Mubarak.’ (He had told us he would be visiting us only on Tuesday; we hadn’t cooked anything special. So, I first scolded him!) (Just give me your blessings, that’s enough, he said). (I quickly made his favourite khichdi),” Shabana Begum said.
Alongside his mother, Sofia Sultana (Mohammed Siraj’s young sister), grandmother, aunt and his maternal uncle were around and so were a dozen friends.
“He wanted all of us to be here in the stadium and made all the arrangements. Had his father been around, he would have felt very proud because more than anything, as a mother I feel that despite all the fame and success, he hasn’t changed as a person and is looking after all of them,” says Shabana Begum even as Sofia Sultana shows the new iPhone that Mohammed Siraj has gifted her.
When Mohammed Siraj made his Test debut in Australia in December 2020, picking up two wickets, his family had told his friends not to come to their home (of his father’s death). Three-month mourning for Mohammed Siraj’s father was on. When they saw Mohammed Siraj standing with the Indian team during the national anthem, the mother and grandmother broke down. They switched off their phones and watched the game.
Even though all his close friends, especially the ones who used to play cricket in the First Lancer Maidan were seated on the balcony at the stadium on Wednesday, Mohammed Shafi stood out from the rest as he was the only one wearing the India jersey with Mohammed Siraj’s name imprinted on it above the No. 73. Mohammed Shafi was Mohammed Siraj’s captain when they used to play tennis ball cricket tournaments in the city.
“Siraj and Shafi used to hang out together at all times. Bachpan ka dost hai,” the mother introduces him as her own. And as Shafi’s phone rings, he proudly shows it: “Yei dekhiye…. iPhone. This was gifted by Siraj. And also this smartwatch. There is another G-Shock watch that he presented me on my birthday, I’ve kept it safe because it is expensive,” Shafi says about his “priceless friend”.
During the course of the game, Mohammed Siraj showed how priceless he is for India as his four wickets helped India win the first ODI by 12 runs. In addition to 46 wickets in 15 Tests, Mohammed Siraj has picked up 37 wickets in 20 ODIs and 11 scalps in eight T20Is.
Mohammed Siraj debuted in ODIs way back in January 2019 but has played sporadically featuring in 20 ODIs where he picked 37 scalps averaging 21 with a best of 4/32 coming in the 3rd inconsequential ODI against Sri Lanka. He had an outstanding 2022 in ODIs where he picked 24 scalps in 15 games averaging 23.46. In 2023, he already has 13 scalps in 4 ODIs averaging a mere 10.62. His economy rate in ODIs is a mere 4.72.