MI has played three games, but Kulkarni hasn’t yet figured in any of those matches. While unknown players like medium-pacer Gujarat’s Jasprit Bumrah (against Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Rishi Dhawan (first-class cricketer from Himachal Pradesh) have been given opportunities, Kulkarni with proven credentials is warming the bench.
Kulkarni claimed nine wickets, including a fifer in the second innings in the Ranji final against Saurashtra. He also played a crucial role in the rain-interrupted semi-final against Services where he claimed five for 33 to help Mumbai advance.
In the last edition of the cash-rich league, Kulkarni managed to get only a couple of games and he impressed in both. Against Rajasthan Royals, Kulkarni dismissed his statemate Ajinkya Rahane and Ashok Menaria. In the next match against Chennai Super Kings, he claimed three wickets (Murali Vijay, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja).
Mumbai Ranji Trophy coach Sulakshan Kulkarni said the medium-pacer deserves to get a look in. “He is certainly a very talented bowler. He was outstanding in the knockout phase (of Ranji Trophy) for Mumbai. He is a consistent performer and would certainly add more value to any team. He definitely deserves to play more matches (for Mumbai Indians). He should be given a longer rope,” Kulkarni said.