Zaheer, McGrath are my gurus: Dhawal

Eager to make his mark in international cricket, Dhawal Kulkarni is hoping advice from Zaheer Khan and Glenn McGrath will help him in New Zealand.

updated: February 17, 2009 10:46 IST
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New Delhi:

Eager to make his mark in international cricket, Mumbai pacer Dhawal Kulkarni is hoping advice from teammate Zaheer Khan and idol Glenn McGrath will stand him in good stead in New Zealand.

Named in the Indian Test squad for the tour of New Zealand, Kulkarni said interaction with Zaheer, his Ranji teammate, and McGrath has boosted his confidence.

"I have played two Ranji Matches with Zaheer bhai last season. He taught me a lot about aggressive bowling and how to pressurise batsmen. My self-confidence grew after that," he said from Rajkot.

On McGrath, whom Kulkarni considers the best bowler in the world, the Mumbaikar said, "No one can match his accuracy. I had the privilege to get some tips from him during the Indian Premier League.

"He told me not to be harsh on myself as mistakes are bound to happen. He said one must practise hard to get that line and length," he said.

"I am following the valuable advices from Zaheer bhai and McGrath. It will certainly help me a lot," Kulkarni said.

The call-up in the Test squad was a just reward for the right-arm pacer who emerged as the highest wicket-taker - 42 scalps in nine matches - in his debut Ranji season last year.

He took five wickets in the final against Uttar Pradesh and was one of the heroes of Mumbai's 38th Ranji triumph.

Aware of the tough competition for a place in the national team, Kulkarni said he didn't want to let go the opportunity.

"Naturally, there would be immense pressure to perform. But I enjoy it as it inspires me to give my best shot. I don't want to waste this chance." he said.

If he gets a chance to feature in the playing XI, Kulkarni would bowl along with Zaheer and Ishant Sharma and the Mumbaikar was effusive in his praise for India's pace spearheads.

"They are the best in the business today. Their consistency is the major force behind team India's successful run in past few months," the 20-year-old Kulkarni said.

The youngster is also looking forward to sharing the dressing room with some of the most renowned cricketers of this era.

"I have shared the (Mumbai) dressing room with Sachin (Tendulkar) who is the source of inspiration for a whole generation. Now I am waiting to be a part of Indian dressing room which has Sachin, (Virender) Sehwag, (Rahul) Dravid, (VVS) Laxman and captain cool (MS) Dhoni." said Dhawal.

Asked about the preparation for the New Zealand tour, the bowler said he was currently concentrating on the ongoing Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament where Mumbai is facing Baroda.

"I believe in the one-tournament-at-a-time strategy. At the moment my whole focus is on Vijay Hazare tournament. I will think about Test series only after that," he said.

Kulkarni, who has toured New Zealand earlier with the India Under-19 team, said the challenge for bowlers like him would be to adapt to wickets of varying pace but hoped his past experience would help him there.

"That was a different level and international cricket is altogether on a different level. But my past tour with the junior team will help me in adapting the wickets quickly," he said.