The 32-year-old cricketer Uday Kaul still remembers the day when he accompanied his father and India team trainer Tej Kaul to the Sector 16 Stadium in 1999 to get enrolled at the stadium. Kaul would watch nets before being asked to bat in the nets by coach Harish Sharma, following which, Kaul’s cricketing journey began. Earlier this week, Kaul completed playing 100 First Class matches with Chandigarh’s Ranji Trophy plate group match against Pondicherry and the Chandigarh wicket-keeper batsman remembered his early days in cricket.
“I still remember my first day at the Sector 16 Stadium. I accompanied my father Tej Kaul to the stadium and watched cricket trainees from the steps in the stands in the stadium before Harish sir told me to bat in the nets. To play my 100th First Class match at the same stadium is a special feeling for me. I did not think about achieving such a feat when I started playing. My focus was playing in the next match. But, milestones happen. I am thankful to Punjab team for showing faith in me for all these years and also UTCA for the support,” shared Kaul.
A prolific run scorer in U-19 cricket, Kaul made his First Class debut for Punjab in 2005 with a Ranji Trophy match against Hyderabad. Kaul made 32 runs in the match and the following years saw him score 6,187 runs for Punjab in First Class cricket which included 17 centuries and 32 half centuries. Kaul played under the captaincy of Dinesh Mongia and Pankaj Dharmani apart from captaining Punjab for two seasons. The wicket-keeper batsman also remembers time spent under coach Intikhab Alam of Pakistan, who was the coach of the Punjab team from 2004 to 2006.
“I made my debut under Dinesh Mongia paji and Intikhab sir was our coach at that time. He was a very good man manager and encouraged youngsters a lot. I learnt a lot from Pankaj Dharmani paji as he was the captain and also donned the wicket-keeper role. Two years after I made my debut, many Punjab cricketers made the move to ICL so we had to start afresh and it was a challenge. The same year, I played a knock of 151 against Uttar Pradesh, after Punjab were 17 for 3 and I rate that knock as my best knock so far. Captaining Punjab for two seasons also made me learn new things and playing under a young captain like Mandeep Singh was also an enriching experience for me,” said Kaul.
Even though Kaul has so far made 123 runs in six matches in Chandigarh’s Ranji Trophy plate group campaign this year, the wicket-keeper batsman scored a century the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Kaul’s younger brother and Indian pacer Siddharth Kaul was also at the Sector 16 Stadium to watch Kaul complete 100 First Class matches.
“Siddharth and I played for Punjab for a long time and we would often discuss our views about each other’s game. I had signed a contract with Nagaland prior to this season but when the UTCA got BCCI affiliation, I decided to play for Chandigarh. Most of us in Chandigarh team have played at Sector 16 Stadium and the dressing room atmosphere is good. We still have a chance to qualify for knock-out stage and will aim for that,” said Kaul.
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