Dhawal Kulkarni, who missed the last three games due to swelling in his ankle, had undergone rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru and was declared fit. @ AFP
Dhawal Kulkarni, who missed the last three games due to swelling in his ankle, had undergone rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru and was declared fit. @ AFP

After leading Mumbai in three games this Ranji Trophy 2018-19 season, Dhawal Kulkarni found his name absent from Mumbai’s squad for their Round 8 match against defending champions Vidarbha that begins in Nagpur on December 30.

Kulkarni, who missed the last three games due to swelling in his ankle, had undergone rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru and was declared fit. The fast bowler then submitted his clearance certificated to the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), but still was left with no response.

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“I was looking forward to playing the last two games which I think are very important for Mumbai,” Kulkarni was quoted as saying by Mumbai Mirror on Friday after the Ajit Agarkar-led selection panel opted to include Shardul Thakur, Tushar Deshpande, Minad Manjrekar and Royston Dias as pacers in the side.

The 41-time Ranji champions are still in search of their first win this season. They have just 11 points from six games with hopes of a berth in the knockouts almost diminishing. Kulkarni wanted to contribute to Mumbai’s must win two games.

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“I was cleared by the physios at the NCA and I have submitted my fitness report. Obviously, I am disappointed, the selectors have told me that I have been rested. It is their decision which I have to respect,” he said.

According to sources in the selection committee, Kulkarni was left out because they did not want too many players in the side returning from injury. Shardul and Deshpande are also coming from injuries. However, Kulkarni is looking forward to playing for Mumbai.

“I am a proud Mumbai player, captained the team with pride, and I am hoping to get back into the Mumbai side at the earliest,” he said.

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Mumbai will play their last game against Chhattisgarh at the Wankhede from January 7.