11 May 2021: 'I owe my career to Virat Kohli', says Mohammed Siraj
In the past few months, Indian pacer Mohammed Siraj has experienced massive growth in his career.
Despite enduring the pain of losing his father, the 27-year-old has scaled heights of late.
Siraj has always given the credit for his success to Indian captain Virat Kohli.
In a recent interview with The Times of India, Siraj said he "owes his career to Kohli".
Strength: Kohli gave strength and support to Siraj
"Virat bhaiya always says -- you have the ability, the ability to play on any wicket and get rid of any batsman," Siraj stated.
"I had lost my father during the Australia series. I was shattered and not really in my senses. It was Virat bhaiya who gave me strength and support. I owe my career to him."
Debut: A forgettable start to international cricket
Siraj made his international debut in a T20I against New Zealand in 2017. He ended up conceding 53 runs in the match.
He remained expensive on his ODI debut too, which came against Australia at the Adelaide Oval in 2019.
Siraj gave away as many as 76 runs that match.
His momentary stints at the Indian Premier League also remained bleak.
Australia: Siraj earned his Test call-up in 2020
In October 2020, Siraj earned his maiden Test call-up for the Australian tour.
However, he lost his father to a brief illness as Team India began preparations Down Under.
The fast bowler rather decided to stay back in pursuit of playing for his nation.
He converted his dejection into success as India went on to win the Boxing Day Test.
Support: Virat's constant messages kept on motivating me: Siraj
Narrating the incident from Australia, Siraj said, "Virat has supported me through thick and thin. I remember how I was crying in the hotel room. Virat bhaiya came to my room and hugged me tightly and said 'I am with you, don't worry'."
"Those words encouraged me a lot. He played just one Test on the tour but his messages and calls motivated me."
Inspiration: Kohli himself rose from the ashes!
Kohli went through a similar crisis at the start of his career.
In December 2006, Kohli was playing a Ranji Trophy match against Karnataka.
He was unbeaten on 40, and had to start afresh next day.
Unfortunately, his father succumbed to a heart attack in the morning.
However, Virat still batted (scored 90) before heading back home.
Show: Siraj stole the show in Australia
Siraj picked up five wickets in the MCG Test, with India staging a famous victory.
After taking two wickets in the drawn Sydney Test, Siraj gave a run for the money to the Australians at the Gabba.
He went on take his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket as the Indians won their first-ever Test in Brisbane, and captured the series 2-1.
What next?: Siraj eyes similar performances in England
Siraj appeared to be flawless in the recently-suspended IPL 2021.
He troubled the batsmen with his searing pace and deceptive swing.
He snapped up six wickets from seven matches at an economy rate of 7.34.
The selectors have placed their trust in Siraj again, having named him in the 20-man squad for the ICC WTC final and the five-Test series in England.