I was waiting for this: Kulkarni

MI pacer glad to have finally played a game in IPL 2012 and performed well

Jaipur 21 May 2012
Bowling figures of 4-1-18-3 would make any bowler proud. Mumbai IndiansDhawal Kulkarni returned with these impressive statistics in his first match of IPL 2012. After claiming the Rajasthan Royals opening pair of Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane, he even sent back Ashok Menaria.

Kulkarni, who has been watching from the sidelines as MI claimed a spot in the playoffs, was happy to get the opportunity to take the field and contribute to a winning cause.

In a post match interview with he spoke about dismissing his Mumbai teammate Ajinkya Rahane and then picking the prized scalp of veteran batsman Rahul Dravid.

Excerpts from his brief interaction:

When did you come to know that you would be playing today?

I came to know in the afternoon during the team meeting. I felt good that I would be playing after waiting for so long. I felt good that after waiting for 15 matches, I will be playing in the 16th match. I had to grab the opportunity, no matter what.

In your very first game, you claimed three wickets, two of which were Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Dravid. Your thoughts on that.

Claiming Ajinkya’s wicket was the most exciting thing for me because he is my teammate [in the Mumbai team in the domestic circuit] and he and I are such good friends that we even share the room while playing for Mumbai. So, picking his wicket was exciting for me. And then, taking the wicket of Rahul Dravid, who is a great player, makes me feel good.

Did you have any special plan for Rahane?

No. [There was] no planning. He has been facing me in the nets [when we play for Mumbai] so I had an idea of where to bowl to him.

What was the motivation to win today, given that MI had already qualified for the playoffs prior to this game?

Mumbai cricket has taught me the never-give-up attitude and that was at the back of mind. My personal goal was to perform and help my team win; and I did that.

How did you keep yourself motivated when you were on the bench? It must have been a bit difficult.

Yes, it was a bit difficult because I was on the bench, didn’t get an opportunity. I was waiting for the opportunity and I have been able to perform when I got it.

What have you learnt from being around international players and former cricketers like Shaun Pollock?

You get to learn a lot from them. You keep discussing cricket with them and he has helped me a lot in the nets as well. We have done some changes in my run-up. My run-up used to be very close to the stumps because in the first and second IPL I used bowl a little wide of the crease. He has been talking to me about that and that has helped me a lot.

Was the MI dressing room a little relaxed coming into today’s match?

Yes, we were very relaxed because we came to know yesterday itself that we had qualified for the playoffs. So, the atmosphere in the dressing room was happy.

Your team now plays the Chennai Super Kings in the playoff eliminator. Do you derive confidence from the fact that they have just managed to scrape through to the playoffs?

They are a very good team and you cannot underestimate them. We know our game and we try to do what we know best.
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