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Dhawal deserves the selection: Rajput

Harish Kotian | February 13, 2009 16:47 IST

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Former India batsman Lalchand Rajput has lauded the selectors for picking Mumbai youngster Dhawal Kulkarni for the three-Test series in New Zealand [Images].

"I think the important thing here is that he got the break at the right time, when he is at the peak of his game. Dhawal deserves the selection.

"He is coming back from a very good season in domestic cricket, where he emerged the highest wicket-taker in his first season, and should be feeling very confident at this point of time," Rajput told rediff.com soon after the squad was named on Friday.

Rajput, who was Kulkarni's coach during the inaugural Indian Premier League [Images] when the 20-year-old turned out for Mumbai Indians [Images], believes the Twenty20 [Images] tournament last year was a big boost for the pacer.

"He developed very well in the IPL playing with the international stars like Shaun Pollock [Images]," he said.

Kulkarni's inclusion may come as a surprise, but there can be no gainsaying that the youngster made all the right moves in the last domestic season to grab the headlines and attract the attention of the selectors.

The right-arm pace bowler was the highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy with a haul of 42 wickets, including five for 76 in the final against Uttar Pradesh [Images] that helped Mumbai win the title for a record 38th time.

What also worked in Kulkarni's favour was the experience of playing in New Zealand, having toured the country with the India Under-19 team in January 2007.

"He did very well on that tour and even picked a five-wicket haul in one of the matches. So I am sure that will work in his advantage, as he some knowledge of the conditions in New Zealand," added Rajput, who was the team's coach on that tour.



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