The Hyderabad-based pacer, Mohammed Siraj, is all set to make his Test debut tomorrow (Saturday, December 26) in the second Test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) against Australia. However, the 26-year-old probably had to make one of the most difficult decisions of his life in order to fulfill his father's dream -- he had to stay back in Australia after his father's death last month.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had given Siraj an option to fly back and be with his family after his father's death. However, Siraj decided to stay back to fulfill his father's dream.
"India fast bowler lost his father on Friday (November 20) after a brief illness. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had a discussion with Siraj and he was offered the option of flying back and be with his family in this hour of grief," the Board said in a statement. "The fast bowler has decided to stay with the Indian contingent and continue performing his national duties. The BCCI shares his grief and will be supportive of Siraj in this extremely challenging phase," the statement added.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) bowler said that it was his father's dream to see him play for India and make the country proud. "It is a very big loss for me, my father always supported me. It was his dream that I keep on playing for India and make the country proud. I just want to fulfill my father's dream and that is why I keep on thinking that my father will always be there with me," said Siraj.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly lauded the fast bowler for showing strength and character during his difficult time. "In this situation, every team member has supported me and it really felt nice. Virat Bhai also told me not to worry and he asked me to stay strong. I talked to my mother and she told me to stay back in Australia and fulfill my father's dream," Siraj added.
The 26-year-old has played one ODI and three T20Is for India, and will make his Test debut on Saturday under the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane. Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are the other bowlers selected for the 2nd Test.