Mohammed Siraj said he will not allow his father to drive an autorickshaw anymore after being picked up by the SunRisers Hyderabad at the IPL 2017 auction for a whopping Rs 2.6 crore.
2017, in fact, was a breakthrough year for him. Along with the huge IPL contract, Mohammed Siraj made his father proud again when he received an India call-up for the T20I series against New Zealand at home the same year and made his international debut in Rajkot against the Black Caps in November 2017.
Mohammed Siraj Lost His Father Mohammed Ghouse But Stayed In Australia
Mohammed Siraj’s determination, hard work and love for cricket paid him rich dividends. He kept his promise of not letting his father work anymore. It was his way of saying thanks to his father, Mohammed Ghouse, for supporting his dream of playing cricket, despite many limitations.
In October 2020, Mohammed Siraj was drafted into India’s Test squad for the tour of Australia. He was playing in the IPL in the UAE at the time of selection. TimesofIndia.com spoke to Siraj’s brother Mohammed Ismail, who revealed how after the call-up, Mohammed Siraj called his parents and told his father that he had been selected in the Indian Test squad and was going to play in the Test series in Australia which elated his family.
Mohammed Siraj started packing his bags after RCB’s IPL campaign came to an end and then said farewell to his family before boarding the flight to Australia. But the Hyderabad pacer didn’t know that he would not be able to meet his father ever again. His beloved father won’t be able to witness his son possibly playing Test cricket for India.
Siraj’s father passed away at the age of just 53, after losing a battle to a lung ailment at his Hyderabad residence on Friday, November 20.
“He (Siraj) is my younger brother. We all love him so much. He was very close to my father. Whenever he calls now, he just cries. We say again and again…’Siraj kuch to bol’ (Siraj, please say something). But he doesn’t say anything. He says one-word, ‘Abbu’ and then cries,” Siraj’s brother Mohammed Ismail told Timesofindia.com.
“May God give him (Siraj) strength. This is all I want to say. I am also heartbroken, but I have my family and relatives with me. Siraj is totally shattered by this news. He is alone. I keep calling him to give him support,” Ismail further said.
The 26-year-old pacer, who took 11 wickets in 9 games in IPL 2020 for RCB averaging 21.45, also made headlines when he created history by becoming the first bowler ever in the IPL to bowl two maidens in a match, which he did in a game against the Kolkata Knight Riders where he registered 3 wickets conceding only 8 runs.
Mohammed Siraj Wanted To Come Back But His Brother Told Him To Stay There
After hearing the news of his father’s demise, Mohammed Siraj wanted to come back, but it was his brother Mohammed Ismail, who motivated his younger brother to stay back in Australia, despite the grave personal loss and do his national duty.
“Siraj wanted to come back but I told him to stay there. He is the youngest member of the family and got so much love from our father. He is in quarantine (in Australia) and whenever he calls, he just cries. I told him the loss has happened and it is irreparable,” Ismail said with a lump in his throat.
Mohammed Siraj’s final call to stay on in Australia was praised by one and all, including BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, who hailed the youngster’s ‘tremendous character’.
Team India coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli, who is also Mohammed Siraj’s IPL captain at RCB, are giving mental and emotional support to him in Australia at this very tough time.
“I am in touch with the Team India manager. He has been so kind. I am really thankful to Virat bhai and Ravi sir who are there and supporting Siraj. Other team-mates also visit him in his room and support him a lot. Siraj needs a lot of support at this time,” Ismail further told TimesofIndia.com.
“Siraj has promised that he will do well in the series and pay a fitting tribute to our father. He wants to win the series for him,” an emotional Ismail said.
Team India is currently in Australia right now and are in the middle of a 14-day quarantine period. India will kick off their tour of Australia with a three-match ODI series starting on November 27, followed by as many T20Is and then a four-match Test series.
The first Test (day/night) will be played from December 17 at the Adelaide Oval. The second will be played at Melbourne from December 26, before the Sydney (January 7) and the Gabba test in Brisbane (January 15) which are the venues for the third and fourth Tests, respectively.