Dhawal Kulkarni: Optimistic about India comeback

The cricketing globe is raving about Dinesh Karthik, who has set the IPL on fire after a stint in the commentary box. Another veteran domestic cricketer, with the same nickname, is doing the same, albeit in the domestic circuit.

Dhawal Kulkarni, the veteran Mumbai pacer, set the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal on fire by breaking the back of Uttarakhand’s top order to set up Mumbai’s record win in the quarterfinal.

“This was the first year that I didn’t get picked for the IPL. It was a bit of a setback for me, so I took up commentary to be occupied mentally. And it was good fun,” Kulkarni told Sportstar

“There was not too much to do besides sitting at home and working on fitness. Since the grounds in Mumbai were occupied for IPL practice, we couldn’t really do skills training, so I thought of trying out
something new. At the same time, whenever there was a break for IPL teams, I would train with the Mumbai boys.”

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But didn’t he enter the Mumbai Indians’ bubble with an anticipation of being drafted into the squad as a replacement player? “I did join the bubble but that was because I had a break from the commentary stint and it was nice of the Mumbai Indians management to let me practice with the group,” he said.

Ever since he went unsold at an IPL auction for the first time, Kulkarni has appeared to have shed the tag. His 11 wickets in four matches don’t really reflect his accuracy at the top and the ability to strike regularly. Besides, he has been mentoring newcomers Mohit Avasthi and Siddharth Raut along with bowling coach Vishal Mahadik.

“When I was young, I always had Ajit (Agarkar) and Zaheer (Khan) to help me become a better bowler, a better cricketer and a better individual,” Dhawal said. “I am just passing on what I learnt from
them to the new bowlers, they are extremely talented. And with Tushar (Deshpande) coming in now, it’s become a little bit easier since he is a seasoned bowler now.”

Kulkarni, who made the last of his 14 India appearances in October 2016, hoped that his effort would not go unnoticed. Just like the other DK, the 33-year-old is making a bid to return to international cricket after a stint with a microphone in his hand.

“Domestic cricket has always been up there for me. I am where I am is primarily due to Mumbai cricket. Since I still feel I can make a comeback for India, I know that performing for Mumbai is paramount. If
I can continue to do that and help Mumbai win the Ranji Trophy, it can benefit me as well,” he signed off.

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