The recently concluded India's tour of Australia witnessed the rise of Mohammed Siraj in the longest format of the game. He made his debut in this tour and went on to lead the Indian pace attack when the frontline bowlers – Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav – were out with injuries.
The Hyderabad seamer returned as the highest wicket-taker for India in the Test series Down Under with 13 scalps under his belt. Overall, he was the third-highest on the list with Pat Cummins holding the top-spot with 21 wickets.
He may have had come out with flying colours but on the personal front, the tour wasn't easy for Siraj. He faced a massive blow after touching down the Australian shores. Before he could don the Indian Test jersey for the first time, his father Mohammed Ghaus passed away.
With a heavy heart, he called up his mother who gave him the courage and confidence to stay back in Australia and fulfil his late father's dream – play for India.
He did what his mother had asked for and then came the Boxing Day Test when he proved his mettle in front of the entire world. He also picked up a five-wicket haul in the Brisbane Test where India hammered the Aussies by 3 wickets to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Siraj is now back in India and the first thing he did after landing home was visiting his father's grave. In a conversation with Sports Today, Siraj said, "I didn't go home, directly. I went to the graveyard straight from the airport, I went there to sit with my dad for some time. I couldn't speak to him but offered flowers to his grave."
"And then I came home. When I met my mom, she started crying. Then I tried to console her, telling her not to cry. It was a different feeling. After 6-7 months, her son had come home. Mom was always waiting for me to return. She was counting down how many days were left for me to return," he added.
During a media interaction upon his arrival, he spoke about his celebration with Mayank Agarwal after picking up wickets during the Test series.
"It was difficult & mentally depressing for me. My family told me to fulfil my dad's dream when I called back home. My fiancée motived me & my team also supported me. I dedicated all my wickets to him. My celebration with Mayank Agarwal was dedicated to him," Siraj told ANI.
The young Indian quick will now gear up for the England Tests which begin from February 5 in Chennai. He has been named in the 18-member India squad following his exceptional performance in Australia.