Together they brought home the under-19 World Cup from Kuala Lumpur, but Virat Kohli and Siddharth Kaul’s careers have moved in entirely different directions in the five years since that memorable final against South Africa.
It was a balmy Sunday evening in March 2008, when skipper Kohli indulged in wild celebrations, as Kaul’s tight final over paved the way for India’s title triumph.
Cut to March 2013, Kohli entered the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here as Indian cricket’s new superstar, and Kaul as one of the net bowlers provided by the local association to help the stars get a few hits ahead of the second Test against Australia.
The stark difference in the manner Kaul and Kohli’s careers have panned out was very evident.
While the 23-year-old Kaul is just one among the dozens of performers in the domestic cricket, Kohli is in line to succeed M.S. Dhoni as India captain.
“It happens in life. There will be times when you get your dues late,” the soft-spoken lad from Chandigarh said when discussion turned to Kohli’s sky-rocketing international career.
It was also interesting to follow their body language during the session on Friday.
Fresh from his century in the first Test at Chennai, Kohli looked in fine touch as he faced the likes of Ashoke Dinda and Ishant Sharma.
On the other hand, Kaul could hardly be recognised in the swarm of net bowlers, although with 43 wickets in Ranji Trophy he is second only to Ishwar Pandey. “Some people take more time to reach a certain level but that shouldn’t deter you from trying hard,” Kaul said.
It wasn’t difficult to gauge his disappointment as he didn’t even get to bowl to top players such as Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni and Virender Sehwag; not even to Kohli. Kaul only bowled to Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
While Kohli will tell you how he would like to tackle the reverse swing of James Pattinson, Kaul, at best, can call it a “good exposure” for him.
“Obviously, it is a nice experience to bowl at the Indian nets as there are so many quality players,” was his predictable answer. Did he get any tips from any of the stars? “They are busy with the Test match and I will be going back tomorrow,” he said.