They were just a couple of sentences from Ravichandran Ashwin but they were enough to describe the journey of Mohammed Siraj. Ashwin acknowledged that Siraj had gone through the ‘grinds’ of domestic cricket and India A and has ‘earned’ his right to play for India while handing over the Test cap to the Hyderabad seamer at the MCG on Saturday.
“Coming through First-Class grind and India A grind, you have earned this Test cap. You will rally around with the team throughout this Test match,” Ashwin told Siraj before the young man took the cap from him and wore it before the start of the second Test against Australia even as the rest of the Indian players were cheering and clapping.
Siraj came into the Indian XI in place of the injured Mohammed Shami, who fractured his wrist after being struck by a Pat Cummins bouncer in the second innings of the Adelaide Test.
India vs Australia 2nd Test live score
It hasn’t been a bed of roses for Siraj. He has had to put consistent performances for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy and also for India A to earn his Test call-up.
The BCCI also highlighted how Siraj battled a personal tragedy – he lost his father at the early stages of the Australia tour – and decided to stay on with the team.
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He battled personal tragedy, fought adversity and is now rewarded with India’s Test 🧢 no. 298. Congratulations Mohammed Siraj. Go seize the day!” tweeted BCCI.
Siraj wasn’t the only one who made his debut in the second Test against Australia on Saturday. Punjab’s Shubman Gill was another one. The talented right-hander came into the side in place of an out-of-form Prithvi Shaw.
He was handed his Test cap by head coach Ravi Shastri.
“The moment when your dreams come true. No better stage than the Boxing Day Test to make your maiden Test appearance. Shubman Gill is now the proud holder of India’s Test cap No. 297,”tweeted BCCI.
The last time India played with multiple debutants was in 2013 against West Indies at Kolkata with Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Shami being the debutants.
The last time India played with multiple debutants against Australia was in 2004 at Mumbai with Dinesh Karthik and Gautam Gambhir being the debutants.
This is only the 4th instance of India playing with multiple debutants in a Test match in Australia. The last such instance was in 1967 at Adelaide with Umesh Kulkarni and Syed Abid Ali being the debutants.
Since 1993, this is the 1st instance of any team with multiple debutants at MCG. South Africa were the last team to do so with Gary Kirsten and Fannie de Villiers as debutantes.
Meanwhile, Australia won the toss and opted to bat first at the MCG. Australia have fielded an unchanged playing XI that beat India by 8 wickets in Adelaide a few days ago.
India made four changes, apart from Gill and Siraj, Ravindra Jadeja and Rishabh Pant too made their come backs to the Indian side.
Australia lead the four-match series 1-0.