Mohammed Siraj, playing his second Test for India, found it hard to control his emotions at the start of the third Test against Australia. Siraj, 26, broke down in tears at the SCG on Thursday when India's national anthem was being played.
Tears rolled down Siraj's eyes before Jasprit Bumrah, standing next to him, gave the Hyderabadi pacer a pat on the back.
It has been an emotional series for Siraj who lost his father during the course of the series. The right-arm pacer struck early for team India on the first day of the Test as he removed dangerous-looking David Warner, who is making a comeback to the side after struggling with a groin injury.
Siraj dismissed Warner on five as he forced an edge off the left-handed batsman towards second slip, where Cheteshwar Pujara took a brilliant catch. Siraj ended the day with figures of 1/46.
After the end of the day's play, Siraj explained why he was unable to hide his emotions. "I missed my dad when the national anthem was playing. It was an emotional moment. My dad wanted me to play Test cricket for India. He would've seen me playing if he was alive," said Siraj during the virtual press conference.
Siraj had lost his father on November 20, about a week after Indian contingent landed in Australia. Despite being given the option of returning home to attend the burial of his father, Siraj chose to stay back as it would've involved quarantine periods.
Former India batsmen Wasim Jaffer and Mohammad Kaif both lauded Siraj.
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"Even if there's little or no crowd to cheer you on, no better motivation than playing for India. As a legend once said 'You don't play for the crowd, you play for the country'," tweeted Jaffer.
"I just want certain people to remember this picture. He is #SirajMohammed and this is what the national anthem means to him," said Kaif.