Together they brought home the U-19 World Cup from Kuala Lumpur, but Virat Kohli and Siddharth Kaul’s careers have moved in entirely different directions over the past five years since that memorable final against South Africa.
Cut to 2013, Kohli walks around with the status of a superstar while Kaul is yet to establish himself as a match-winning cricketer in the senior Punjab team or even the IPL.
But the brave-hearted ‘Sid,’ as he is popularly known to his team mates, believes in putting his best foot forward and leaving the rest to his destiny.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Kaul speaks of his career so far.
You come from a family that has a history of sporting culture. Your dad (Tej) is into cricket and so is your brother (Uday) who has played for Punjab. Can you tell us about growing up in a family full of sports enthusiasts?
I think it’s an ideal atmosphere for any budding sportsperson. It is totally fun growing up in a sports oriented family. Sport is taken
very seriously but at the same time, studies were given importance too. If not equally important, it was necessary for me to pursue basic education. The best part is, because my dad and brother have been professional sportspersons themselves, they can understand me better too. It’s an advantage.
Was there any pressure that you had to get into some sport?
Not at all, they gave me the freedom to choose what I wanted to do. There was no pressure that I had to be a cricketer. My dad used to run a pace academy and I used to mimic Indian players’ actions, mostly spin bowlers. Until class VI, I was only playing for fun but that year I played my first state tourney and that’s when I realised I wanted to move on from ‘mohalla cricket’ to professionally playing the sport.
You debuted for Punjab at a very young age. You were hardly 17 then.
Yes, it was like a dream come true for me. I was playing an U-19 game in Lucknow and my coach Munish Bali asked me to finish the game in 3 days and if I did, I could have a chance to figure in the senior team for Ranji. Actually, my name was already being discussed during the selection meetings. We ended up finishing the game in 3 days and the next day early morning, I straight away got to play my first Ranji game. I hardly slept for three hours the previous night. On my debut, I got a five-wicket haul which was an icing on the cake.
How do you rate your performance at the Syed Mustaq Ali T20 tourney?
I think I’ve done pretty well so far. In the first game, I bowled 4 overs for 26 runs, in the second, 4 overs, 18 runs and 1 wicket, in the third, 4 overs, 19 runs and three wickets and in the previous game, I got a wicket off 20 runs. I have had an opportunity to play with Yuvi bhai (Yuvraj Singh) and Gauti bhai (Gautam Gambhir), and I am giving my best. I have been able to develop a rapport with them in this series.
Only a few days ago, there was an article of you and Virat stating the stark contrast in the way your careers have taken off. Virat (your teammate from U-19 WC) is a star in the Indian team while you were just called to bowl at Bhuvneshwar Kumar during nets ahead of the Hyderabad Test.
Well, some are lucky to get a chance and some are not. They can’t take my destiny and I can’t take theirs. I am working hard on my skill and I got a chance to bowl at the Indian team which itself is great for me. I just want to continue enjoying the game and wait for my chance.
You will be playing for Delhi Daredevils in this IPL. How excited are you?
It’s a big league for us and I am on my toes to play. I have been bowling well and I know I just need to do my thing right. What I am looking forward to the most is to bowl against Sachin paaji (Tendulkar). It’s been my dream and I hope I get to do it this IPL.Published 27 Mar 2013, 00:20 IST