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Perseverance pays off for doughty Dhawal

Last updated on: January 28, 2013 15:27 IST

Perseverance pays off for doughty Dhawal

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Bikash Mohapatra

Mumbai's bowling mainstay Dhawal Kulkarni tells Bikash Mohapatra that the key to his success is being patient and sticking to the basics.'

He bowled well, and consistently well in the Ranji Trophy games. However, his hard work did not reflect in the wickets' column.

At least it didn't till Mumbai went to Rajkot for their group match against Saurashtra, one in which the bowler picked four wickets.

It was a timely boost, considering it came closer to the knock-out stages of the competition.

"I had been bowling well throughout the season," explained Kulkarni, adding, "the only thing missing was the wickets.

"But that's part of the game and has to be taken in a positive manner." 

The bowler also refused to blame the docile wickets for the lack of return in lieu of his consistency.

"Wherever you go in India you get flat wickets. So you can't complain about the wickets," said Kulkarni.

"The only thing you can do is work hard on your bowling and be patient," he added.

And patient he was, continuing to work hard till he got the desired result.

The quarter-final tie against Baroda saw two more wickets added to his kitty. But it was the semi-final, against Services at the Palam Ground (New Delhi), where he delivered what was required of him.


Image: Dhawal Kulkarni
Photographs: Bikash Mohapatra/ Rediff.com

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'To perform in every game is most important for me'

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His five-wicket haul (5-33) helped Mumbai get the crucial first innings lead, and thereby a passage to the final in what was a rain-affected game that had to be extended to a sixth day.

The bowler carried forward the momentum to the final, claiming four for 24, as Saurashtra were once again at the receiving end, being dismissed for a paltry 148 in their first innings.

"I was feeling very confident. I got five wickets before this game and carried that confidence forward," said Kulkarni.

"It would have been great had I got another five-wicket haul in this match," he added.

The four wickets took his tally for the season to 25, a bulk of them (17) having come in the last five games, since that away encounter against Saurashtra.

"In the last few games I have been among the wickets. In the last game I got five wickets and in this one I just missed out," said Kulkarni, adding "It's a great feeling.

"To perform in every game is the most important thing for me. That's what I have been working on even when I was not getting wickets.

"But these knock-out games are big platforms. You have to perform well as everyone (read selectors) is watching you."


Image: Dhawal Kulkarni
Photographs: Bikash Mohapatra/ Rediff.com

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'I have to motivate myself as I can't rely on anybody else'

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In fact, it is time the selectors took note of his performance.

Kulkarni's consistency earned him a deal with the Mumbai Indians franchise (Indian Premier League). However, it has so far not been able to merit a place in the starting eleven.

For starters, in his debut season in the Ranji Trophy, in 2008-09, Kulkarni finished as Mumbai's top wicket-taker with 42 wickets in nine matches. The tally was inclusive of figures of five for 76 in the second innings of the final even as Mumbai thrashed Uttar Pradesh by 243 runs.

In his second season, as well, the medium pacer played a part in his team retaining the title, picking 24 wickets in nine matches as Mumbai held off Karnataka's resistance.

The bowler was consistent as well in the two subsequent seasons -- taking 16 wickets in four matches in 2010-11 and 21 wickets in eight matches in 2011-12 -- but Mumbai failed to reach the final in either, and his performances went unnoticed. However, it didn't leave the bowler disappointed.

"I am in the team to take the new ball and provide the team with initial breakthroughs. And that's what I try to do," explained Kulkarni.

At 24, and on the verge of winning a third Ranji title (in just five years) with Mumbai, Kulkarni has time on his side when it comes to national call-up.

More importantly, the bowler knows exactly what he has to do.

"I have to motivate myself, as I can't rely on anybody else. So the key is to be patient, stick to your basics and keep doing things well," he said.


Image: Dhawal Kulkarni with his family
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant/Rediff.com

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