They say a picture tells a thousand stories. And this certainly is one such picture! The world of cricket and the lovers of the sport all across the globe are going to remember this moment for a long time. This is the picture of Mohammed Siraj laying flowers and praying at his father's grave, who passed away in November 2020. This is the picture of a player who put nation above himself. The picture of a bowler, who showed utmost sportsmanship. And, the picture of a son, who did his father proud!
Mohammed Siraj had left for UAE to play for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL last August. Back then, nothing had prepared him for the roller-coaster ride that was laid out for him. Everyone caught a glimpse of Siraj's fierce bowling attack during the IPL, but the fact that he could lead the bowling squad at International test was still a far-fetched dream for him. Post IPL, Siraj moved to Australia for the next test series.
In November, Siraj's father, Mohammed Ghouse, passed away due to a lung ailment at the age of just 53. When the news reached Siraj, he was devastated. It was the biggest grief he had ever felt. But, keeping in mind the quarantine protocols and his duty towards the nation, Siraj chose to put his tears behind. He decided to live his father's dream, to fulfil it. And boy! Did he do that!
It was Mohammed Shami's broken elbow that paved way for Siraj to make his test debut. And once he stepped onto the field, there was no stopping the man-of-steel. In Sydney, Siraj battled shameful racial abuse from the crowd. But, he didn't let it have an impact on him. He bowled and took wickets like this was his last match.
Siraj had taken all that pain, anguish, loss, humiliation, tied-it and kept it in some corner of his heart. He channelled all his emotions and put it into his bowling. Each wicket he took, he looked up at the sky. After all, it was his moment and he was making his father proud!
Siraj's journey from gully cricket to dominating international test is what hard-earned dreams are made of. His extraordinary grit and perseverance has made him a role model for many. Our big salute to such undiminished courage and honest sportsmanship!