Hardwork and sacrifice pays. It paid in case of Mohammed Siraj too. The Hyderabad-born 26-year-old paceman is the new sensation of Indian cricket team. Siraj's bowling fired India to a sensational Test series win in Australia. No amount of sledging or a personal loss could come in Siraj's way, when he rattled the Australian batsmen, as he kept his focus on the game and played a stellar role.
Siraj's story is definitely inspiring and heart touching. Younger son of his parents Mohd Ghouse and Shabana Begum, Siraj had the responsibility of lift the family from poverty because his elder brother Mohd Ismail made it to engineering and it was initially expected of him to excel in studies. However, Siraj showed his dedication in cricket, especially in fast bowling to which parents supported right from the beginning and did whatever they could with their little means.
"Our parents struggled a lot to give us a dignified life. My father used to drive autorickshaw but he along with my mother ensured I concentrate on engineering studies and Siraj concentrate on his cricket. Never they discouraged us while we pursued our respective paths," says Mohd Ismail, Siraj's elder brother.
Luckily, Siraj had friends like Sharu (Mohd.Shafi), who shared Siraj's dream of becoming a cricketer. Sharu and Siraj used practice together and are still inseparable.
"I remember the days when we had to rush for tournaments to far off places from our respective home, we had to literally run to the ground. Somehow, when we got bike we did not have money for petrol. Siraj never complains and takes everything in his stride," recalls Mohd Shafi.
There were times when Siraj was in such a demand in local tennis ball tournaments that some teams used to offer him Rs 1000 per match to bowl for their side and Siraj never disappointed.
"I got to know about this boy from John Manoj (former secretary of Hyderabad Cricket Assocition). John told me this boy is bowling really fast and I should have a look at his nets. When I saw Siraj bowling I saw the prospect of playing him in Hyderabad Ranji side. He played in Ranji and other tournaments for Hyderabad and made his way to IPL and then to Indian team. I am very happy for him," says Arshad Ayub, former president of Hyderabad Cricket Association and former India Test cricketer.
After spending some time with his family, Siraj will join Indian team for the forthcoming series in England and surely he is a talent to watch.