While the class of 2008 gave India some big names in Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja, it was not smooth sailing for everyone in the U19 World Cup-winning squad. Siddharth Kaul is one of those names who is struggling to get a place in the national team. The Punjab quick was the joint-highest wicket-taker for India with Jadeja and Iqbal Abdulla in the 2008 U-19 World Cup as he returned with 10 wickets from five games.
Despite being in tremendous form, it took Kaul five years to make it to the India A team. In 2013, he was named in the side for the South Africa tour. The then 23-year-old made only a single appearance in the tour and managed a couple of wickets. It was a tough phase for him as he struggled to find his footing.
Siddharth Kaul’s redemption
Siddharth Kaul’s early days in the Indian Premier League (IPL) weren’t easy either. Kaul got to play just 11 games for Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) in the combined seasons of 2013 & 2014. It was only in 2017 that the nation got a glimpse of the Punjab speedsters potential.
In his maiden season for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kaul rose to the occasion with his variations, the knuckleball in particular. The budding quick scalped 16 wickets in the season as SRH lifted its maiden title in the league. The 2017 season saw him become an integral part of the time alongside some big names.
On the back of a tremendous season, the Sunrisers roped in Siddharth Kaul for a second season on the trot and he repaid their faith with his brilliance with the ball. He claimed 21 wickets from 17 games that season t record his best performance in the league. On the back of two stunning seasons in the IPL, Kaul’s maiden call up to the national team arrived.
Snubbed from India A despite a great domestic run
A decade following the U19 World Cup triumph, Siddharth Kaul made his international debut. While much was expected from the talented pacer, his international appearances have been limited. Kaul has featured in three ODIs and as many T20Is with four wickets to show in the shortest format. Unable to impress the selectors in the limited opportunities he got, Kaul was back to the domestic grind.
And he made his mark immediately as he picked 27 wickets in 5 matches in the 2019 Ranji Trophy season. In the 2020 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Kaul picked up 14 wickets in six games to finish as the third-highest wicket-taker of the season with an impressive economy of 6.7. The wicket included a hattrick against Karnataka and two four-wicket hauls.
In the ongoing season, the Punjab pacer finished with 10 wickets in five games with an economy of 6.6. Despite such impressive performances in the domestic tournaments, Kaul has been left out from India A squad for the South Africa tour after being snubbed from the Sri Lanka tour earlier this year. Yet he continues to toil away, fighting to earn his place in the side.
While one cannot deny that his performance has dropped in the IPL as he has bagged just 15 wickets in the last three seasons. Yet he has managed to put up promising performances for Punjab and it’s high time he is rewarded for his perseverance. Having endured numerous failures, the 31-year-old is still in search of the one career-changing season or moment to boost his chances to cement a place in the Indian team more than a decade after his U19 World Cup triumph with Kohli and Co.