Cricket

Cricketer Siraj fulfils his father’s dream now

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Siraj’s brother Ismail talks about his brother’s fairytale journey to the top and how his family is super excited when he will make Test debut in Melbourne on Saturday

Hyderabad: “My father (late Mohammed Ghouse) would be the happiest person from heaven. He had a dream that Siraj would play for India in Test cricket. Within a month of his death, my brother has got that god-sent opportunity. It is one of the best news in recent times,’’ brother Ismail, a software Engineer, said from their Toli Chowki residence after hearing that his brother Mohd Siraj will make his Test debut against Australia in Melbourne on Saturday.

Ghouse had passed away on November 19. “It was one of the biggest losses for our family. Siraj was inconsolable when he heard that `Abba jaan’ had died. We had great difficulty in controlling his emotions from here to Australia. He was very low in confidence and contemplated at one point even coming back to India. Luckily the Indian team members, particularly Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri, played a big role in consoling him,’’ added Ismail.

Ismail pointed out: “My father would always say to Siraj make India proud. Desh Ko Roshan Karo. He always had a proud feeling whenever Siraj played for India. There was always a big smile on his face and sense of satisfaction whenever Siraj donned the Indian colours.’’

From the quaint lanes of Khaja Nagar in Banjara Hills, 26-year-old Siraj has fulfilled his father’s dreams. “We came through a lot of hardships. Being an autorickshaw driver, my father and mother Shabana Begum did all sundry works. I was studious while Siraj was always busy playing cricket in the small lanes. My mother was often upset because Siraj never focused his attention on studies. She would often beat him saying that he is wasting his career by playing the game.

“But my father always supported Siraj. He would quietly slip in money in Siraj’s pocket and encouraged him to play cricket. Siraj was very passionate about the game and fast bowling. Today, we are all happy that he is going to play for India in Test cricket, that too at the magnificent MCG ground. He would be having my father’s blessings from heaven. It is a big moment for our family,’’ said Ismail, who had passed his engineering in 2014 and now acts as a manager for his brother.

Siraj had moved to Toli Chowki where he could give best comforts to his parents. “We have not sold our father’s auto. He proudly travelled in Jeep Compass in the last few years.’’

Former chairman of National selection Committee MSK Prasad said he always believed Siraj had the potential to play for India. “He is one of the successful cricketers in India A matches. He has taken six or more five-wicket hauls that too against big teams. We thought he was a very good red-ball cricket as he could move the late and was a work-horse.’’

P Jyothi Prasad, who was the chairman of the Hyderabad selection committee when Siraj made his Ranji debut in 2014-15 season, said this Hyderabad fast bowler always excited him. “He had the hunger to excel in big stage.’’

Siraj will be the second Hyderabad fast bowler after Syed Abid Ali, who incidentally made his Test debut against Australia in Adelaide way back in 1966, to play for India in Test cricket.

Former Hyderabad opener Abdul Azeem, who was instrumental in shaping Siraj’s career when he gave him cricket shoes etc, said God is great. “I have seen the hardships the family went through. He deserves all the luck.’’

Mohammed Siraj (second right) with his late father Mohd Ghouse, mother Shabana Begum and brother Ismail

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