The latest Indian sensation Mohammed Siraj has opened up about the racial slurs that he and his fellow pacer Jasprit Bumrah were subjected to during the third Test against Australia at the SCG besides revealing what the umpires had asked the team after they have complained of the same.
The recently completed Border-Gavaskar Trophy took an ugly turn during the third day of the third Test in Sydney when Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah complained of having received racial abuse from a section of the crowd.
The Indian team-management immediately lodged a complaint with the match officials post the day’s play. However, the very same thing happened on the following day in the afternoon session that forced a delay in proceedings after Mohammed Siraj complained of the same to skipper Ajinkya Rahane.
Siraj has now revealed that as the New South Wales police were removing the perpetrators from the stadium, the umpires gave an option to the visitors to stage a walkout in protest of the racial slurs.
The fast bowler added that Ajinkya Rahane refused it straightway, asserting that the team respects the game and that they had done nothing wrong to walk away from it.
“I faced abuses in Australia. The case is going on, let’s see whether I get justice or not. My job was to report the incident to the captain,” Mohammed Siraj revealed in a press conference following his arrival to his hometown.
“The umpires offered us to leave the game but Rahane (bhai) said we won’t leave the game. We did no mistake, so we will play,” he recalled.
“The abuses which I faced in Australia made me mentally stronger”- Mohammed Siraj
One of the most inspiring stories from India’s fairytale win over Australia is that of Mohammed Siraj.
Despite being grappled with a personal loss and a barrage of racial abuses, the young fast bowler showed nerves of steel as he channeled his anger and pain into on-field performances, the zenith of which was reached on the fourth day of the Gabba Test when he claimed a match-winning five-wicket haul.
Siraj finished the series as India’s leading wicket-taker (13 wickets in 3 games) and the manner in which he led the attack in Brisbane in the absence of senior bowlers despite it being only his 3rd Test is awe-inspiring.
But the fast bowler knows he can’t afford to rest on his laurels if he has to ensure that plays for a long period of time for his country. And, he is already looking forward to the upcoming home series against England.
“The abuses which I faced in Australia made me mentally stronger. I didn’t let them affect my game,” Mohammed Siraj said. I never thought like that (I will replace senior bowlers). But when senior players got injured, the entire team was banking on me to do well. It was challenging and there was pressure on me as well,” he said.
“(But) I can’t relax. I want to play for India and keep on performing. I need to continue from here. I don’t want this to get to my head. I need to set my future goals. I need to take this confidence into the next series (against England). Whatever role the team management gives me (in England series), I will do my best,” he added.