When I Was Called Black Monkey...: Mohammed Siraj Opens Up On Racial Abuse In Australia

When I Was Called Black Monkey...: Mohammed Siraj Opens Up On Racial Abuse In Australia

Siraj was subjected to racial abuse during the third Test in Sydney. The pacer said initially he thought it was once in a while incident but it happened again and this is when he told captain Ajinkya Rahane about the situation who asked the umpires to remove the people from the ground.

Updated: March 13, 2023 10:31 AM IST | Edited By: Faham Uddin
New Delhi: Mohammed Siraj is an integral part of the Indian test team. The pacer has emerged as one of India's best in the longest format. Siraj played a significant role in India's win over Australia on the 2020-21 tour.

That was a tough phase for Siraj as he lost his father but he decided to stay with the team and represent the country. The rewards he is reaping today are the result of the grit and determination he has shown over the years.

Speaking on the latest episode of the RCB podcast, Siraj revealed he used to cry in the room while the team was inside the bio-bubble due to COVID.

"In Australia, nobody could visit other players' rooms as we spoke on video calls. But Sridhar sir (former India fielding coach R Sridhar) used to call often asking how are you, what have you eaten etc. It was a good feeling and my fiance was also talking to me (over phone) at that time. I never cried on the phone but there were occasions when I would cry in the room and then will talk to her later," said Siraj.

Siraj, who is celebrating his 29th birthday today, Monday, March 13, said that head coach Ravi Shastri encouraged him a lot during the series.

"I went to training the next day after my father's demise and Ravi Shastri told me that I have my dad's blessing and I will take a five-wicket haul. When I took five wickets at Brisbane, he told me: 'Look, what did I tell you that you will take five wickets.'

"It was a lot of fun when my dad was around because he wanted to see his son's success. He took a lot of pride and joy in seeing me putting all the hard work. I always wanted to perform in front of my dad, and the dream did come true but how I wish I could do it more," said Siraj.

Siraj was subjected to racial abuse during the third Test in Sydney. The pacer said initially he thought it was once in a while incident but it happened again and this is when he told captain Ajinkya Rahane about the situation who asked the umpires to remove the people from the ground.

"When I was called black monkey and things like that in Australia, I ignored them on the first day, thinking the people were drunk. But when it happened on the second day I decided to go up to the umpires and complain about racism and I conveyed it to Ajju bhai (Ajinkya Rahane) who went to the umpires.

"So, the umpires told him you are free to leave the ground till the matter is settled. But Ajju bhai said: 'We respect cricket and why should we leave the ground. But remove those people who are abusive and why should we leave the ground? We then focused on cricket as people will keep saying all these things," said Siraj.

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