Team India has handed out two debut caps to Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj ahead of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Meanwhile, senior spinner Ravichandran Ashwin made a heartwarming speech while presenting the Test cap to Siraj, who battled a personal loss to stay in Australia and experience this day.
Siraj came in place of Mohammed Shami, who has been ruled out of the entire series owing to a fractured arm from a blow he suffered during the first Test in Adelaide. However, it has not been easy for Mohammed Siraj, who had to grind hard at the domestic level and India A level to make his way to the top.
You have earned it – Ravichandran Ashwin to Mohammed Siraj
Incidentally, the fast bowler from Hyderabad lost his father days after he landed in Australia from the UAE after plying his trade in the IPL. While many urged him to fly back, Siraj insisted to stay back and realise his father’s dream, who wanted him to see donning the India colours and represent the country.
BCCI on an appreciation post where he was presented with the Test cap by Ravichandran Ashwin highlighted how he fought personal battle to witness this day. Ashwin also made a heart-melting speech while handing over the cap saying that Mohammed Siraj has ‘earned’ his right to play for India. The young pacer becomes the No. 298 Test player for India.
“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,” Ravichandran Ashwin told Siraj before the young man took the cap from him and wore it.
— BCCI (@BCCI) December 25, 2020
On the other hand, Shubman Gill was also handed the debut Test cap by head coach Ravi Shastri. 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. This is only the 4th instance of India playing with multiple debutants in a Test match in Australia.