Over the last few weeks, theMumbai Indianshave proved that they have one of the most potent new-ball attacks in the league. Led by Mitchell Johnson and ably supported by Dhawal Kulkarni, the star-studded team’s bowling attack has dominated some of the most daunting line-ups around.
Even against the Rajasthan Royals, the Johnson-Kulkarni duo ensured the visitors were dealt early blows from which they could not fully recover. This bowling partnership has taught the 24-year-old Kulkarni how to bowl in tandem with a top-class international bowler while sticking to his basics.
Here are excerpts from Kulkarni’s post-game chat with IPLT20.com:
On giving MI good starts with the new ball
It is always good to share the new ball with an international bowler like Mitchell Johnson. And he is a class act, so I get to learn many things like how to be aggressive at the start of the innings. It also teaches me a lot of stuff like bowling in partnerships. For example, when he is attacking, I just try to pull myself back and stick to my basics.
Mitchell is especially good. Whenever he has got the opportunity to pick up wickets up front, he has done his job well. That is exactly the job that has been assigned to the new ball bowlers, to go and pick wickets up front.
On the Wankhede Stadium as an impenetrable fortress for MI
The Wankhede Stadium has been really good for us. It is great to win all games at our home ground. The crowd support has been really fantastic. And when the crowd is behind you, nobody can stop you. Everyone is with you with all positive energy. It gives a lot of support to all the players.
On getting his Mumbai team-mate, Ajinkya Rahane’s wicket while playing RR
It is always good to get your best buddy’s wicket. He is one of my best friends in the Mumbai Ranji team, and it is good to bowl at him. It is a different game altogether out there. There is no friendship, and there is complete aggression when we compete against each other.
On performing on a big stage like the IPL
For a youngster like me, while playing in the IPL there is always pressure. But I have to enjoy this pressure. I cannot just hold my self back; I need to express myself on the field.
And as a team, we have to stick to our basics. We cannot think about being on the top of the table or in the top two. We just need to take it one game at a time.
On sharing the dressing room with international pacers
Sharing the dressing room with senior international players is really good. You get to learn a lot, and I keep improving myself day by day. I try to learn from all the things they have to share.