Indian pacer Mohammed Siraj reckoned that the racial abuses hurled at him by the Australian crowd made him mentally strong. Siraj returned to India on Thursday after the injury-plagued Team India defeated Australia 2-1 to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
During the third Test in Sydney, pacers, Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah, had to face racial slurs from the Australian crowd. Siraj also revealed the umpires at the SCG told stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane that the team can walk off the park, but the team did not wish to do that.
“Australian crowd started abusing me, it made me mentally strong. Not letting it hamper my performance was my prime concern. My job was to inform that I was being abused, I told the entire matter to captain Rahane.
“Umpires told us that you can walk off the field and leave the game but Ajju Bhai told the umpire that we won’t leave, we respect the game,” Siraj revealed during a press conference in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Before the start of the Australian tour, Siraj had lost his father. However, the 26-year-old decided to stay back with the team. He went on to take 13 wickets in the series, including his first five-wicket haul in the fourth and final Test in Brisbane.
Mohammed Siraj went to pay tribute to his late father
After arriving in Hyderabad, Siraj went straight to the graveyard to pay homage to his late father. The pacer had made his debut in the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
“It was a difficult phase for me, I lost my father and it was a bit taxing on me mentally. I spoke to my family, they told me to fulfil the dream of my father, my fiancee also backed me and the entire Indian cricket team was behind me.
“It was an emotional moment for me today, I went to the graveyard. I entered my home, my mother started crying as soon as she saw me. I ate home-cooked food after a long time and it was really good to be back home,” said Siraj.
“I dedicated my every wicket to my dad. I celebrated with Mayank Agarwal after taking wickets in the second innings of the Gabba Test, I dedicated my every wicket to dad. Before the series started, I never thought I would take five wickets.
“Because of the injuries, we had to up our game. Everyone trusted me, they backed me, they told me that I am the leading bowler. I had pressure on me, but I enjoy challenges and I was just looking to hit the right areas on the Gabba wicket,” he added.