Siraj find of Australia tour, says Shastri

New Delhi,  India head coach Ravi Shastri on Friday heaped praise on fast bowler Mohammed Siraj who played a crucial role in the team’s remarkable win over Australia in the Border-Gavaskar series.

“Find of the tour for shoring up the bowling attack the way he did – Mohd Siraj. He fought through personal loss, racial remarks and channelised them to find home in the team huddle,” Shastri said in a tweet.

Siraj picked 13 wickets in the three Tests he played, the first of which was his debut, through the course of the series which India won 2-1. During the tour, Siraj lost his father and even faced racial abuse from a section of a crowd during the third Test in Sydney. However, he didn’t let these obstacles affect his performance as played a key role in India’s memorable Test series win over the Tim Paine-led side.

On his return to India on Thursday, the 26-year-old fast bowler said he had no time to relax and would like to focus on the game without thinking too much.

“Whenever I performed I missed my father. In fact, I was thinking of calling him after every good performance but later realised that he was no more. I miss him a lot. May Allah grant him place in paradise,” Siraj said.

The Hyderabad-based bowler said it was an emotional moment for him when he drove straight from the airport to the graveyard and offered flowers on his father’s grave.

On being abused racially by spectators during the third and fourth Tests, in Sydney and Brisbane respectively, Siraj said it made him mentally strong and he did not allow that to impact his game.

“The case (on racial abuse) is going on. Let us see if we get justice or not. I told my captain that some audience is abusing me. The umpire said you can leave the ground but the captain said we will not go as we respect the game of cricket and you may send them out,” he said.

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