IPL 2019: After five seasons of wait, Siddhesh Lad makes IPL debut

Middle-order batsman Siddhesh Lad has finally made his IPL debut as he replaced an injured Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma.

After five seasons of wait, Siddhesh Lad made his IPL debut.   -  Vivek Bendre

A few weeks before the Indian Premier League (IPL) got underway, Siddhesh Lad looked confident of making it to the playing eleven this time around.

He has been with the Mumbai Indians for the last five seasons, but ended up warming the bench all throughout.

“I am not thinking about the past. I have had a good season and I am looking in good form. Hopefully, things will fall in place,” the Mumbai batsman had told Sportstar then.

Even as Mumbai’s batting line-up struggled in the first five games, the local lad had to wait in the wings. But on Wednesday, Mumbai finally handed him the cap, as a replacement for injured captain Rohit Sharma.

READ: IPL 2019: Injured Rohit rested; Leg spasm, says MI

The 26-year-old has been one of the consistent performers for Mumbai in the domestic circuit, and in his pre-season media interaction, Rohit had made it clear that Lad could well be the ‘surprise element’ for the side this time around.

“Siddhesh has been part of this team for three-four years now. He’s been a consistent in domestic cricket (for Mumbai). I feel that somewhere down the line, we need to play him to see what he’s all about when it comes to the IPL. I wouldn't say Siddhesh is inexperienced. It's just that he hasn't played the IPL,” Rohit had said.

“He’s raw, so the opposition may be surprised with his skill set,” the MI captain had said.

Against the Kings XI, Mumbai tried to unearth the ‘surprise’ element.

In the domestic circuit, Lad remains the ‘crisis man’ for Mumbai and has been the batting mainstay for the side in the Ranji Trophy. In the last season, he averaged 53.58.

“There is no substitute to hard work and I will continue doing that,” Lad had said.

It hasn’t been a easy ride for the batsman. As a budding cricketer, he had to travel in the crowded local trains from the suburbs to south Mumbai, to pursue his dreams.

Under the watchful eyes of his father, Dinesh, who was Rohit's childhood coach, Siddhesh worked hard to make sure that he broke into the Mumbai side, and in 2013, he finally made it to the Mumbai team and gradually proved his worth.

“My job is to score runs and I will continue to do that. As a batsman, my responsibility is to help the team win and that’s my target,” Lad had said, before the IPL started.

Dekhte hain, time kab aata hai (Let’s see when my time comes).”

Finally, his time is here!