After a remarkable first-class season in which his 44 wickets at 23.79 helped Punjab reach the semi-finals of the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy, Siddarth Kaul is now gearing up to show the same form playing for India A on their tour of South Africa.
Kaul, 23, said his performance in the last season has given him the necessary confidence going into the tour, in which he has been picked as one of four seam bowlers. "The last season turned out to be extremely good for me," he tells Cricketnext.com. "I worked on various aspects on my game and it brought good results."
According to Kaul he has prepared well for the upcoming tour which may turn out to be the defining one of his career. "I have been working on my bowling and fitness in the PCA (Punjab Cricket Association) camps for the last two months. I also worked on quite a few things under the guidance of Punjab's bowling coach Harvinder Singh. And then a camp at the NCA (National Cricket Academy, Bangalore) further added to my preparation," says Kaul, who was the second highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy season behind Madhya Pradesh's Ishwar Pandey.
Although he is not bothered about how he will fare when exposed to bigger challenges, Kaul said he is ready for the future. "I am prepared both physically and mentally [to take on challenges at the next level]. But instead of concentrating too much on my individual performance, my main aim has always been to help my team win. I want to be recognised for the effort I put in day in day out."
Kaul is quick to credit the influence that his father, Tej, and brother, Uday, have had on him. Of his father, who himself played for Jammu & Kashmir during the 1970s, he says: "My dad is also my coach. He always wanted me to become a fast bowler. His influence over my game is huge as he is the one who tells me what I need to do to improve my game."
His brother is a team-mate in Punjab. "He and I have been playing together since childhood, so he knows my strengths and weaknesses very well. During the matches, he keeps telling me what I need to do to get wickets," says Kaul.
Kaul was also part of the Delhi Daredevils squad in IPL 6. He played six matches, picking up four wickets, and says the chance to watch the likes of Morne Morkel and others helped him improve his game. "Playing for Delhi Daredevils was a great experience as there were many big players there. By sharing the dressing room with them I picked up a lot of things: the way they prepare before every match, the way they present themselves on and off the field and also how they remain humble despite being so successful."
India A team are scheduled to play a tri-series also featuring Australia A and South Africa A and two four-day games on the tour starting August 8.