City-based medium pacer Siddharth Kaul has been rewarded for his consistent performance in this year's Ranji Trophy with a place among the 30 probables for the ICC Champions Trophy to be played in England from June 6 to 23. Fifteen will make the squad for the ODI tourney.
Siddharth, 22, who made a comeback to first class cricket after an injury hiatus, picked up 44 wickets from nine Ranji matches this season, second only to IC Pandey of Madhya Pradesh who got 48 wickets in eight. Pandey is also on the list.
The list has a heavy presence of youngsters - including Delhi batter Unmukt Chand, Maharashtra's Kedar Jadhav, MP's Jalaj Saxena and J&K's Parvez Rasool, all uncapped -- while dropping veterans like Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan.
"My father (Tej Kaul) was the first to call me up with the news. I'm just taking one step at a time. Right now my focus is to do well in the ongoing T20 tournament if given a chance," said a delighted Siddharth, who plays for the Delhi Daredevils in the domestic league. The pacer looks up to his father, a SAI cricket coach, and his elder brother Uday Kaul, wicketkeeper in the Punjab Ranji squad.
Siddharth made his first-class debut for Punjab in 2007-08 against Orissa taking 5 for 97, and then was instrumental in India's 2008 under-19 World Cup with 10 wickets.
But soon a spate of injuries relegated the pacer to the sidelines. "That time made me wiser. I had everything going as a 19-year-old, but I had to start all over again. All you can do is stay calm and composed, and wait for the tough period to pass," he said, speaking to HT on the phone from Delhi.