In the second innings of the Brisbane Test, there was a race between Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Siraj as to which of the two bowlers would get to their maiden 5-wicket Test haul. Australia were 9 down and both Siraj and Thakur had picked up 4 wickets apiece up until then.
With Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood trying to add quick runs, both Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur were going full tilt for the final wicket. As it turned out, Hazlewood tried to hit one over the slip cordon but he found the third man fielder, Thakur who completed the catch to help Siraj pick up his maiden 5-wicket haul.
Speaking to Sports Today, Shardul Thakur said he was genuinely wishing Mohammed Siraj took the 5-wicket haul and paid tribute to his late father. Thakur added Siraj’s words about his father were going through his mind and he was praying that he doesn’t drop the catch that came his way.
In a heartwarming moment, Shardul was seen elated for his teammate who was leading the team off the ground after picking up his maiden 5-wicket haul. Notably, Siraj topped the wicket-takers tally for India in the 4-Test series, picking up 13 wickets in 3 matches after staying back in Australia despite his father’s death in November.
“People were watching us that we’re both on 4 wickets apiece [Siraj and Thakur]. We were both chasing a [maiden] 5-wicket haul. When I was bowling, all I could think of is if I take 5 wickets then it will be for the team. To be honest, I was wishing from the bottom of my heart that Siraj gets his 5-wicket haul because it was a very emotional time for him,” Thakur said.
“When the catch came to me, I was praying to God that this catch should not be dropped at any cost. It had rained as well before so the outfield was wet too, so I was praying that I must take the catch because that would complete his 5-wicket haul as he was so fulfilling his father’s dream of him playing for India.
“I had Siraj’s words about his father in mind, who was watching us from up above, and he would be very happy after the 5-wicket haul. When he completed his five-for, I was genuinely very excited for Siraj. It was his maiden 5-wicket haul in Tests and it was a dramatic end to the innings, I was extremely stoked for him.”
Siraj was practicing throughout the limited-overs series: Thakur
Shardul Thakur said he had seen first-hand the efforts put in by Siraj during the limited-overs series and the mental battle he was going through after losing his father at the start of the Australian tour.
“When we reached Australia, we had set camp in Blacktown [city in Greater Western Sydney, Australia]. His father was quite ill and hospitalised and was fighting for his life. Then in a few days time his father passed away and the entire Australia series was quite emotional for him. He couldn’t even fly back home,” Thakur added.
“He wasn’t even a part of the ODI and T20I squads, but still he was practising with the team throughout. Reality is, the practice hours are just 2 or 3 hours per day, you have to go back to your room. It was very difficult and a very emotional time for him.”