India overcame the odds to emerge victorious against Australia in Brisbane on Tuesday to seal a 2-1 series win. With several first team players ruled out with injury, the series saw several youngsters and newcomers make their Test debuts. India’s bowling attack in the fourth Test at the Gabba was led by Mohammed Siraj, who had played all of two Tests leading up to the match, having made his debut in Melbourne the previous match. Navdeep Saini debuted in Sydney and had the single game to his name. Shardul Thakur had played one Test in 2018, but had only bowled 10 deliveries in that match before picking up an injury. T Natarajan and Washington Sundar were making their debuts in the series-decider.
For all these players, the series saw dreams come true and years of hard work finally pay off.
It also saw them overcome extreme hardships to finally make their mark at the very top of the sport they play.
Mohammed Siraj’s father was a rickshaw driver, and India’s new new-ball bowler faced struggle from early on in his life.
Days before the Test series, Siraj’s father died. But due to the coronavirus-enforced quarantine regulations, he could not return to India, instead choosing to stay on in Australia and live his late father’s dream of playing Test cricket for the country.
T Natarajan’s father was a daily-wage labourer and his mother sells chicken on the roadside – something she refused to give up despite Natarajan’s best efforts to convince her. But the yorker specialist chipped away in the local circles before finally rising to prominence in the last season of the Indian Premier League and then getting a dream call-up to the national side.
Navdeep Saini was born to a government driver in Haryana, but he moved to Delhi to get a chance. There was controversy over his selection for Delhi, but he finished as their highest wicket-taker in 2018.
Shardul Thakur travelled nearly 90 km every day from Palghar to Mumbai to play cricket and also battled a weight problem to push his way to the top.
Most of these players were not expected to make the playing XI, but forced into the deep end, they drew from their struggles to help the team win one of the most historic series ever.
Topics mentioned in this article