India pacer Mohammed Siraj has revealed his ambition to fulfill his deceased father's dream of representing India at the highest level.
Siraj's father passed away on Friday whilst the 26-year-old was with the Indian squad in Australia for the upcoming four-match Test series.
Instead of travelling back home for his parent's funeral, Siraj decided to stay in Australia to respect his mother's wishes of donning the national jersey in Test cricket.
"It is a very big loss for me, my father always supported me. It was his dream that I keep on playing for India and make the country proud," Siraj told bcci.tv.
"I just want to fulfill my father's dream and that is why I keep on thinking that my father will always be there with me," he added.
Siraj has received vocal support from his team members, all of whom have communicated messages of strength and condolences to the impacted individual.
Former India skipper and incumbent BCCI president Sourav Ganguly also lauded Siraj's resilient attitude for braving through the personal tragedy and prioritising national duty in distressing times.
"In this situation, every team member has supported me and it really felt nice. Virat Bhai also told me not to worry and he asked me to stay strong. I talked to my mother and she told me to stay back in Australia and fulfill my father's dream," Siraj further stated.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore paceman recently starred in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a series of impressive performances.
Although not initially part of the first-choice playing XI, Siraj forced himself into becoming an automatic pick for the Virat Kohli-led IPL team and took 11 wickets in nine games.
The highlight of his IPL 2020 stint was a record economical spell against Kolkata Knight Riders when he rolled over the opposition's top-order to register figures of 3/8 in four overs.
Siraj has played one ODI and three T20Is for India and is yet to earn a Test cap. He has taken 147 wickets across 36 first-class games at an average of 23, establishing his red-ball credentials.
In addition to the uncapped Siraj, India will have the fast bowling options of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini for the Test clashes.
The Test series between India and Australia, known as the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, will begin on December 17 at the Adelaide Oval. The Indian team is currently in the midst of a two-week quarantine period in Sydney.