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Tendulkar helped me get my confidence back - Kulkarni

Despite several noteworthy performances for Mumbai, Dhawal Kulkarni was still plagued with self doubt. Advice from Sachin Tendulkar made the difference, as he looks forward to a possible India ODI debut

Amol Karhadkar

November 13, 2013

Comments: 7 | Text size: A | A

Dhawal Kulkarni in his delivery stride, India A v New Zealand A, first unofficial ODI, Visakhapatnam, September 8, 2013
Dhawal Kulkarni: "When he (Tendulkar) batted, he used to tell me where my hand was going, about my wrist position and the seam" © BCCI
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The last time Dhawal Kulkarni was a part of India's dressing room was during India's tour to New Zealand in 2008-09. However, the Mumbai seamer, who was picked on the back of a sensational debut season in first-class cricket, was dropped without being awarded an India cap.

More than four years later, a mature Kulkarni has been given a second chance, having been named in India's squad for the three-ODI series against West Indies, starting November 21, and said he was "excited" at the prospect of a maiden appearance in international cricket.

"It was difficult to deal with," said Kulkarni, when asked about how he digested his exclusion from the Test squad in New Zealand. "It was on my mind that I have to get back in the team. There was no option other than working hard. Being smart and hard work was the key."

The right-arm seamer has emerged as Mumbai's workhorse over the last five years. However, there were times when he couldn't help but think about what he was doing wrong. Especially, when he was picking up five-wicket hauls - that too in big matches - consistently, and still finding himself on the sidelines. In fact, some experts had started believing that Kulkarni could well be the next Pankaj Singh, the Rajasthan seamer, whose exploits on the domestic circuit had been consistently ignored by the national selectors.

"It was kind of frustrating in between when I was picking up five wickets," Kulkarni said. "I had five-fors in the Irani Cup and twice in the Duleep Trophy and after that not getting picked up was a little bit disappointing. But I took it as a challenge and kept performing."

He turned to his Mumbai seniors for advice, including his current captain Zaheer Khan, his predecessor Ajit Agarkar and, of course, Sachin Tendulkar. Kulkarni said it was Tendulkar who helped him correct minor mistakes in his technique and raised his confidence at the start of the Ranji season.

Despite having performed consistently for India A against the touring New Zealand A and West Indies A sides before the Ranji season, Kulkarni wasn't bowling at his best as Mumbai began preparations for their Ranji Trophy title defence. That was when Tendulkar stepped in. "He worked with me on my bowling when I was not able to swing the ball initially at the start of the season. He was analysing me while he was batting. That helped me quite a lot," Kulkarni said.

"The only thing was that I was not backing myself at the start of the season. He was building confidence in me. He helped me in working on my rhythm rather than just going through the motions. When he batted, he used to tell me where my hand was going, about my wrist position and the seam.

"When it was not coming right, he used to walk up to me and tell me. It helped a lot."

While Kulkarni was keen to revel in his maiden call-up to India's ODI side with a strong outing against a formidable Delhi batting unit in the Ranji Trophy over the next four days, he would be hoping that his second coming at the international level would turn out different from his first.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Naresh28 on (November 14, 2013, 8:44 GMT)

India has now started developing a pool of bowlers. New ones like:- PANDEY, SHUKLA, SHAMI, SANDEEP SHARMA, RISHI DHAWAN, MOHIT SHARMA etc. This is good news. These players need to be tested on foreign pitches.

Posted by jimbond on (November 14, 2013, 3:49 GMT)

Kulkarni may turn out to be better than Ishant and Vinay, but still it is not an inspired selection. A first class bowling average of 27 is not good at all. If they wanted to try out someone totally new, they could have tried Ishwar Pandey, or Rishi Dhawan or Sandeep Sharma- all three of whom have performed much better than Kulkarni in the Ranji in recent times. If they wanted a pure bowler who could get a bit of bounce, Ishwar Pandey would have been a choice; if they wanted someone who could also bat, Rishi Dhawan would have been perfect; and if they wanted someone who would bowl with control and swing the ball, Sandeep Sharma was far better. Sandeep Patil and Co seem to have gone in for a player who was familiar (to Sandeep Patil).

Posted by CricketChat on (November 14, 2013, 3:09 GMT)

Thought Sandeep is a bit different from previous selectors. Kulkarni, who? Can't remember him doing anything special to warrant selection now. I should have known better. They are all from the same breed!

Posted by   on (November 13, 2013, 17:19 GMT)

i guess i mentioned first about Dhwal about his presence in indian team on nz tour, cricinfo wrote that its first time he is selected in indian team

Posted by Chak-De-India-Deux on (November 13, 2013, 16:57 GMT)

An unappreciated fact of Tendulkar.... just ask the amount of junior cricketers and other sportsperson he has called / spoken to either give them tips or encourage them. In fact a lot of Indian crickets talk about the time Tendulkar has taken out to help them with their game.

Posted by   on (November 13, 2013, 16:37 GMT)

Vinay Kumar has not been dropped. He has come in the incarnation of Dhawal Kulkarni. Both are clones of each other and will get slaughtered on the featherbeds in the ODIs.

Posted by Batmanindallas on (November 13, 2013, 15:43 GMT)

Hopefully he get a long run like Vinay Kumar did....

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