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Kohli backed Siraj even when he was not doing too well at RCB, says Siraj’s brother Ismail | Cricket News – Times of India


HYDERABAD: Virat Kohli missed three of the four-Test matches Down Under due to paternity leave but he will be one of the most satisfied guys as one of his wards used sheer pace to beat the Australians at their own game. Kohli invested in Mohammed Siraj at the Royal Challengers Bangalore and it paid rich dividends for Team India. Siraj’s brother Mohammed Ismail was all praise for the Indian skipper as he spoke to TOI at length about his brother’s nascent career.
Excerpts:
Siraj idolizes Virat Kohli
Virat bhai is the only cricketer that Siraj looks up to. Virat has been a pillar of strength for Siraj. He backed him a lot even when his performances were not too good at the RCB in the previous two years. Virat bhai and the RCB management put their trust in Siraj and retained him. They didn’t discard him. Virat spoke to him often about maintaining a consistent line and length. Hence, Virat has played a big role in Siraj’s success.

Foundation laid by parents
We are grateful to our parents for helping us reach this position in life. They sacrificed a lot for us so that we could have a decent living and proper studies. It is very satisfying for my mother to see Siraj grow in stature and do well for the country. She is very proud of what he has achieved thus far in his cricket career. The last two months have been very tough for the family with the loss of my father but Siraj’s show has elevated the pain quite a lot.

Mother turns pillar of strength
Siraj calls up mom regularly and speaks to her. Siraj’s performance has substantially increased because of my mom. We lost our biggest support in life with the demise of our father and he is irreplaceable. In such a situation, the way our mother handled all of us was really commendable. Hence, it’s undoubtedly because of the strength Siraj derived from our mom that he has been performing so very consistently.

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IN PICS: India win Gabba thriller, claim Test series 2-1

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Rishabh Pant unleashed a Twenty20-style batting assault to blast India to an incredible three-wicket win in the fourth Test decider on Tuesday. (Getty Images)

Test cricket is real cricket
This was my father’s dream. He always wanted Siraj to represent India in Test cricket. One-day cricket and T20 are good formats but Test cricket is the actual game as it tests the skills of the players to the fullest. It is the actual test. The dream was fulfilled but the person, whose dream it was, is not there to savour these moments with all of us. Hence, there is a mixed atmosphere in our house – mourning because of my father’s death as well as elation because of Siraj’s performance which has helped India clinch the Test series. My father always used to say that in one-day cricket and T20 cricket a batsman can score runs even off a good ball but in Test cricket one’s actual caliber comes to the fore.

Father backed Siraj to the hilt
From our childhood we have seen our parents sacrifice so much to bring us up. My father was the biggest supporter for Siraj. He always encouraged him and wanted him to pursue his passion for cricket. He never tried to stop Siraj from playing the game. He always told him that he would support him as long as he wanted to play cricket. Hence, it’s my father’s sacrifice and hard work that is paying off in the form of success that Siraj is achieving.
No interest in studies
Cricket, cricket and cricket alone has been Siraj’s passion and interest. Apart from it, he has not looked at anything else. He was so caught up with the game that he even went to the extent of skipping his board exams. When we used to ask him how he wrote his exam, he would say well. But when he got the certificate, we saw that it was marked absent. He then confessed that he went to play a gully match.
Not surprised by Siraj’s performance
We were sure that Siraj would scale new heights in this series. It was only a matter of time before he struck big and we were waiting for that moment. We knew that he would come up with something special in the series.



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