Dhawal Kulkarni: ‘Money is not as important as opportunities’

The Mumbai seamer, a senior in the IPL charts with a 10-year experience, kept his base price low this time to get into a squad which will offer more games.

Dhawal Kulkarni played for Gujarat Lions for the last two seasons.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Among the uncapped crop of 2008, not many bowlers have survived the test of time. But Dhawal Kulkarni — the 29-year-old Mumbai pacer — is a different breed. Come April, he will mark his 11th year in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and what stands out is his price in the auction market.

Eyeing more games and opportunities, the senior bowler kept his base price as low as ₹ 50 lakh. Rajasthan Royals picked him at ₹ 75 lakh through the Right To Match card.

Two years ago, Kulkarni went to Gujarat Lions for ₹ two crore; he was retained by the franchise last season.

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“There is no reason as such to keep the price low. I thought it is better to stick to ₹ 50 lakh because at the moment, money is not as important as opportunities. I wanted a team where I would get a chance to play, rather than sit on the bench. My focus is to make use of the chances to stage an international comeback,” Kulkarni told Sportstar.

After a long stint with Mumbai Indians, the right-arm pacer got a national call-up in 2014. In his 12-ODI stint in international cricket, he claimed 19 wickets. Kulkarni also appeared in a couple of Twenty20 games and picked up three wickets.

‘Miss travelling with the team’

His last appearance for India came in an ODI in Ranchi against New Zealand in 2016. “It is not only about chances, it is also about performing in the domestic season. I never got chances but I travelled a lot with the Indian team. I miss travelling with the team, I could have had more chances then, but that’s a part of a cricketer’s life. You have to keep working hard and focus on your game,” he added.

Having seen the IPL from inception, he also stated how the tournament has grown in a decade. “There is more variety in the game. Bowlers have started thinking a step ahead of the batsmen; earlier, it was only a batsman’s game but it is more competitive today. The batsmen have so many innovative strokes, they can also hit a fast bowler behind the wicket-keeper. In the first few editions, there was a little less idea about the T20 format,” said Kulkarni.

The Royals pre-tournament camp will begin at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur from March 28.

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