India pacer Mohammed Siraj has revealed that words of encouragement from head coach Ravi Shastri during the team's tour of Australia made him change his mind about returning home after his father's death.
"'You play the Test match. You will get 5 wickets as your father's blessings are with you," was what Shastri told him before the second Test in Melbourne.
Siraj received the news of his father's death on November 20, less than a month before the Border-Gavaskar Trophy began in Australia.
The 27-year-old bagged five wickets for 77 runs on his Test debut at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
"Ravi sir said after the match 'I told that you will be getting five wickets.' I became very confident after my coaches encouraged me in such a way," Siraj told ABP news.
Siraj, who has 16 wickets from five Tests so far, also spoke about the help he received bowling coach Bharat Arun.
"When I lost my father during the Australia tour, both Ravi sir and bowling coach Bharat Arun sir were so supportive," he said.
He grabbed a five-wicket haul in Australia's second innings in the fourth and final Test in Brisbane as India won the match for a historic 2-1 series triumph.
Siraj is currently in England with the Indian team for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and a five-match series against hosts England.