Mumbai: Pacer Mohammed Siraj could not perform the last rites of his late father in November as he was in Australia with the national team but he made him proud by making India Test debut in Melbourne, his family said on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Siraj lost his father Mohammed Ghaus, an auto-rickshaw driver in Hyderabad, on 20 November, around a week after the Indian team landed in Australia and he could not return home due to COVID-19 restrictions.
His brother Ismail said it was his late father’s dream to see Siraj play for the country in Tests and finally the dream was fulfilled on Saturday at the MCG.
"It was my (late) father’s dream that Siraj should represent India in Tests ... he always wanted to see him (Siraj) in blue and white jersey to represent the nation, so our dream got fulfilled today," Ismail told PTI from Hyderabad.
The family members were glued to the television since 4 AM to watch the proud moment of Siraj playing for the country in a Test. He has already played one ODI and three T20 Internationals.
"Since the team was announced yesterday, we knew that he was going to make debut. We did not sleep the entire night, we switched on TV from 4am,” said Ismail, a software professional who now works as his brother’s manager.
So, what were their thoughts when Siraj did not bowl in the opening session?
"We were waiting eagerly when he will bowl ... intezaar badhte jaa raha tha (our wait was getting longer) ... but after lunch break he started the first over and (the wait) ended," Ismail said.
"It was a proud moment for us," he said, adding it was an emotional moment for the family members who resides in Hyderabad.
Siraj returned with figures of 2/40, claiming the wickets of Marnus Labuschagne and Cameroon Green.
Ismail said Siraj did speak to his mother after the day’s play.
“I chatted with him through messages, I did not disturb him much as he was tired and there is again play tomorrow. However, he called up Ammi (mother)," Ismail said.
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Thakur snared seven wickets and was India's top scorer in the first innings, striking 67 while batting at No 8. He, along with Washington Sundar, pulled the team out of trouble by conjuring a crucial 123-run stand. The partnership eventually played a key role in the team's three-wicket win.
The short ball to get rid of Steve Smith was his favourite among the 13 wickets in the series, along with the dismissal of Marnus Labuschagne.
On Friday, a report in the Sydney Morning Herald quoted a spectator as saying that a section of the crowd at the Gabba targeted Siraj.