India pacer Mohammed Siraj on Thursday said that the racial slurs hurled at him by the Australian crowd made him mentally strong. Siraj returned to India on Thursday after the Ajinkya Rahane-led side defeated Australia 2-1 to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
During the third Test in Sydney, Siraj along with Jasprit Bumrah had to face racial slurs from the Australian crowd. The pacer also revealed that the umpires at the SCG told India skipper Ajinkya Rahane that the team can walk off the park, but the side 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 told reporters at a press conference here in Hyderabad.
Before the series against Australia started, Siraj had lost his father, but the pacer decided to stay back in Australia to fulfill his father's dream of seeing Siraj play Test cricket.
Siraj's hard work paid off on the fourth day of the fourth Test against Australia at The Gabba as he went on to register his maiden five-wicket haul. After returning from Australia, Siraj went to pay tribute to his late father.
"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 fulfill 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.
The Indian pacer played three Test matches on this tour of Australia and returned 13 wickets.
Siraj made his debut for India during the MCG Test against Australia. He had made his way into the side as spearhead Mohammed Shami got injured in the first Test at Adelaide.
On Tuesday, Australia's fortress -- The Gabba -- was finally breached. It took 32 years and two months, but the unthinkable was achieved as an injury-ravaged young Indian team beat Australia by three wickets against all odds to take the series 2-1.
The last time a visiting team came out triumphant from the Brisbane Cricket Ground was back in November 1988 when the mighty West Indian outfit under the leadership of Viv Richards thrashed Allan Border's team by 9 wickets.
( With inputs from ANI )
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