New Delhi:Dhawal Kulkarni might not have got an opportunity to make his Test debut in New Zealand, but the Mumbai pacer said being a part of the historic team in itself was a great boost for his young career.
Kulkarni, who got a call in the national team after his exceptional Ranji debut last year where he became the highest wicket-taker with 42 scalps, cooled his heels in the bench during the three-match Test series against the Kiwis which India won 1-0, thereby creating history after 41 years.
"Although I did not get a chance in New Zealand, being the part of the dressing room itself was a learning experience for me. It will be very helpful for me in future as I got to learn many things there." Kulkarni said after returning home on Thursday.
"I learnt about the pressure of playing overseas. We have so many senior players in the team who can be guiding force for any upcoming player. I've become more mature after the tour." he added.
Like his Team India colleagues, Kulkarni too has very little time to rest as he will leave for South Africa on Friday to participate in the second edition of the Indian Premier League, where he plays alongside master blaster Sachin Tendulkar for Mumbai Indians.
By virtue of his impressive Ranji Trophy debut, Kulkarni has also earned a place in the 30 probables list for the Twenty20 World Championship to be held in England in June, and the 20-year-old said he will leave no stones unturned in the IPL to book a berth in the T20 World Cup final squad.
"My next target is to play T20 World Cup. I am quite optimistic about it and will try to give my best shot in the IPL," Kulkarni said.
Asked about his expectations from South African pitches, he said it will, altogether, be a new experience for him. "I have never been there. Although seniors told me that pitches are going to help pacers let's see how it goes."
Kulkarni is also upbeat about Mumbai Indians prospects in this year's IPL and said the presence of Shaun Pollock as mentor will be an advantage for his team in South Africa.
"Shaun (Pollock) was one of the greatest players. I have learn a lot from him in the inaugural season. This time the IPL is being held in his own den and it will be additional advantage for us." he said.
He also felt that crowd support won't be a problem for the teams in South Africa and expects the event to be a big success.
"Indian fans are there all over in the world. We saw that in T20 World Cup in 2007. I am sure that every team will have it's fan base and the league will be a huge hit." Kulkarni said.