After losing his father last week, Mohammed Siraj said skipper Virat Kohli’s advice to “be strong” has helped him stay afloat ahead of India’s gruelling series against Australia, which starts on November 27.
Siraj’s father Mohammed Ghouse, 53, died due to a lung ailment in Hyderabad last week and despite BCCI offering him the option to return home, the pacer decided to stay put on national duty.
“Virat bhai said ‘Miyaan tension maat le [don’t be tense] and be strong. Your dad wanted you to play for India. So, do that and don’t stress,” Siraj told ‘bcci.tv’ after a training session in Sydney.
“The skipper told me, ‘If you can be strong in this situation, it will only help you’. So those were positive words from the captain and it felt nice.”
Want to fulfill my father’s dream: Siraj
The fast bowler speaks about overcoming personal loss and why he decided to continue performing national duties in Australia. Interview by @Moulinparikh
— BCCI (@BCCI) November 23, 2020
Kohli is no stranger to overcoming personal tragedy while carrying on with professional duties. In 2007, Kohli, then a teenager, lost his father in the middle of a Ranji Trophy match but he scored 97 for Delhi the very next day.
Siraj’s father drove auto-rickshaw during his formative years as a cricketer and has been the single biggest influence on the Hyderabad man.
“It’s a huge loss for me as he was the biggest support system of my life. He wanted me to shine for my country and my mindset now is to fulfil his dreams,” he said.
The 26-year-old fast bowler said even his mother advised him not to abandon the assignment.
“My mother said that ‘everyone has to go one day. Today, it’s your dad, tomorrow it will be me. Just do what your dad wished for you. Play well for India’. Maybe he is not physically present but I can feel that he is always there with me,” he added.
(with PTI inputs)