In a heartwarming gesture of appreciation, Indian pacer Mohammed Siraj demonstrated his generosity after a spectacular performance in the Asia Cup 2023 Final. Following India’s resounding victory over Sri Lanka, Siraj made headlines not only for his exceptional bowling but also for his selfless act.
Leading India’s fast bowling attack, Siraj exhibited a dazzling performance in the summit clash at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. With figures of 6-21, he played a pivotal role in India’s comprehensive 10-wicket win, securing their eighth Asia Cup title.
However, it was what happened after the match that truly touched hearts. Mohammed Siraj, who was rightfully awarded the ‘Player of the Match’ prize money of $5,000, decided to dedicate this sum to the diligent groundstaff at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo. These unsung heroes had worked tirelessly throughout the tournament, defying continuous rain interruptions to keep the ground in impeccable playing condition.
At the presentation ceremony, an elated Siraj stated, “Have been bowling well since a long time. Was missing the edges earlier. But found them today. The wicket was seaming earlier, but there was swing today. Thought that I will bowl fuller because of the swing. When there’s good bonding between fast bowlers, it’s helpful for the team. I was thinking it would be great if I could stop the boundary. My best spell. This cash prize goes to the groundsmen. This tournament wouldn’t have been possible without them.”
This touching gesture was a testament to Siraj’s humility and recognition of the invaluable contribution of the ground staff in making the tournament a success despite challenging weather conditions.
Furthermore, the Asian Cricket Council chairman, Jay Shah, announced a substantial prize money of USD 50,000 for the entire team of ground staff who had worked relentlessly to prepare the cricket grounds in Colombo and Pallekele, even amidst the full-blown monsoon season. Shah expressed his admiration for these “Unsung Heroes of Cricket” and emphasized their crucial role in ensuring the Asia Cup 2023 was an unforgettable spectacle. The prize money, equivalent to approximately 16 million Sri Lankan rupees, aimed to celebrate and honor their unwavering commitment and hard work.
In sum, Mohammed Siraj’s selfless act of donating his ‘Player of the Match’ prize money to the ground staff, coupled with the significant recognition and reward announced by the Asian Cricket Council, served as a touching reminder of the importance of acknowledging those who work behind the scenes to make cricket tournaments a success.