Uttar Pradesh spinner Saurabh Kumar was discussed in February 2021. He was then selected as the net bowler for the Test series against England. Just a year later, he was selected in the squad for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka. Saurabh, who hails from Baghpat, UP, contributes to batting as well as being a leg-spinner. They are being discussed once again. Saurabh has performed brilliantly in the Ranji Trophy. Saurabh Kumar has taken 18 wickets in the last five Ranji matches. He took three wickets in the second innings against Mumbai in the semi-final, but could not lead the team to victory. We are here to tell you the story of Saurabh Kumar…
When Saurabh Kumar was 10, he left his home in Baraut, Baghpat, to pursue his cricketing dreams in Delhi. For training, they had to cover a distance of 60 kilometers by train. Initially, his father Ramesh Chand used to leave him. Later Saurabh himself started coming and going. Saurabh’s father was a junior engineer in All India Radio’s Akashvani Bhawan.
Saurabh Kumar got scholarship in ONGC
Saurabh used to find it difficult to travel from Baraut to Delhi for practice three to four days a week. When there were tournaments, the journey would increase accordingly. Gradually, Saurabh Kumar started making a place in the age-group teams of UP. Making his way through the under-13 and under-15 teams, he also secured a cricket scholarship to ONGC at the age of 15. He got an opportunity to learn from Bishan Singh Bedi.
The Air Force showed Saurabh the way to the Services team
After Under-16 and Under-17, Saurabh Kumar also joined the Under-19 team, but the road to the senior team was tough. At that time, the team of UP had spinners like Piyush Chawla, Ali Murtaza, Praveen Gupta and Avinash Yadav. Kuldeep Yadav and Saurabh Kashyap were also in line. Meanwhile, Indian Air Force officials contacted him. With no immediate prospect of playing for UP, 20-year-old Saurabh Kumar accepted his offer. He also got a job as an airman.
In this way he was included in the team of UP
After joining the Services team, Saurabh’s eyes were on the Indian Test team. He took 36 wickets in seven matches in his debut season in 2014-15. Meanwhile, there was a shortage of spinners in UP. Mortaza and Chawla’s performance was disappointing. At the same time, Kuldeep joined Team India. The state selectors spoke to Saurabh Kumar. The decision was not an easy one for his family. He also had a permanent job in the Services team. There was also a chance to play in the senior team.
10 wickets in the first match for UP
The prospect of returning to UP, triggered by talks with the state selectors, was not an easy decision for Saurabh or his family. In the Services, he got the security of a stable government job as well as the opportunity to play regularly for the senior team. He was included in the U-23 by the selectors of UP. He took 21 wickets for the team. After that he was included in the senior team. He took 10 wickets for his home team in the first first-class match against Gujarat.
Was upset in lockdown
Due to his consistent performance, he was selected in the Rest of India squad against Saurashtra for the Irani Trophy, but the match did not take place due to coronavirus. Saurabh Kumar described that time as the most difficult time of his life. He said in an interview, “I was bowling exceptionally well and I don’t think I was away from selection for the national team. My selection in Rest of India proved the same, but everything came to a halt due to Kovid. I would often sit at home wondering when things would resume. During the lockdown, I was having a lot of negative thoughts.
Talking about Saurabh’s first-class career, he took 210 wickets in 49 matches. During this, he has taken five wickets in an innings 16 times and 10 wickets in a match six times. His best performance has been 14 wickets for 65 runs in a match. Apart from this, he has also contributed significantly in batting. Saurabh has scored 1657 runs. During this he scored two centuries and eight half-centuries.
Saurabh said, “The best thing for me was that the selectors remembered my performance when cricket resumed. I was asked to join the team as a net bowler on the tour of England in 2021. That’s when I believed that if you do well, then the right opportunity definitely comes.” and was then included in the main squad for the series against Sri Lanka.