On a chilly Friday morning at the IS Bindra Punjab Cricket Stadium here, medium-pacer Siddarth Kaul etched his name in the record books by becoming the highest wicket-taker for Punjab (261 wickets), surpassing left-arm spinner Bharti Vij’s record of 258 wickets. The 33-year-old speedster claimed three wickets against Gujarat to take his tally from 258 to 261 on Day 1 of the match. His 261 wickets have come from 71 first-class matches for Punjab. Overall, Kaul has played 81 first-class matches with a total wicket count of 279 scalps.
Vij, who was part of the Punjab Ranji Trophy winning team three decades ago, had taken 258 wickets in 59 first-class matches played for Punjab.
“It is a great feeling to do well for my state. The state association has backed cricketers like me in these years. It was so wonderful to be part of the team that won the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this season. I am working really hard and I want to help Punjab win the Ranji Trophy also. It has been 30 years since Punjab won its only Ranji Trophy,” said Kaul, whose brother Uday Kaul has also been a first-class cricketer for Punjab and Chandigarh and now is a coach with the PCA.
Kaul’s father Tej Kaul was once attached with the Indian team as a physiotherapist in early 1990s and played domestic cricket for Jammu and Kashmir.
Kaul was part of the Punjab team that clinched the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this season at their home ground a few months ago. He has been the backbone of Punjab’s bowling attack for almost a decade and has the most wickets in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy as well as the Vijay Hazare One-Day Trophy till 2023-24 season.
Kaul has 120 wickets in 81 matches in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with Uttar Pradesh leg-spinner Piyush Chawla next in line with 109 wickets in 87 matches. Kaul has bagged 155 wickets in 75 matches during the Vijay Hazare Trophy with Chawla at the second spot with 142 wickets in 84 matches.
Coming into the match against Gujarat, Kaul was tied with Vij at 258 scalps. He drew the first blood for Punjab by bowling Aditya Patel for 58. His second wicket came in the form of Het Patel in the 46th over for 1. Umang Kumar was his third dismissal for 40 runs. Left-arm pacer Arshdeep Singh also supported Kaul well and bagged three wickets. Gujarat were 250/8 at the end of Day 1.
Right from his first class debut against Odisha in 2007, fitness has been a top priority for Kaul. He was also part of the 2008 under-19 World Cup winning team that also featured Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja. “Fitness will always remain my priority. That’s how a fast bowler gets going. And I still have a burning desire to play for India. I am not done yet,” said Kaul who has played three ODIs and three T20s for India.
In the Indian Premier League (IPL), Kaul has turned up for Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore. He was with the RCB in the last two seasons but was released by the franchise for the upcoming IPL. “I have enjoyed playing in the IPL. Rubbing shoulders with the greats. I will watch the upcoming IPL on TV but will try to make a comeback the next season,” said Kaul.
“Siddarth has been phenomenal for Punjab. His top fitness standards have worked wonders for him. His contribution and presence in the Punjab team since his first-class debut has been outstanding. Hoping to him in the Punjab team that wins a Ranji Trophy title,” added PCA secretary Dilsher Khanna, who played an important role in organising Punjab’s first T20 league named Sher-e-Punjab Trophy which garnered praise from all corners and prepared the team to claim their first Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy.