Mohammad Kaif gets ‘A’ foothold

Kaif was named in the 'A' team scheduled to play West Indies 'A' in two four-day games in October.

Written by Nihal Koshie | New Delhi | Published: September 11, 2013 1:54:30 am

Mohammad Kaif jogs his memory while trying to recall the last time he was part of an India ‘A’ squad. “It has been more than three years. I recall it was against Australia ‘A’ and I had scored a 94 in the first innings at Bangalore. Simon Katich had captained the Australians. But I don’t remember exactly which year that was,” Kaif said. Also Read: Never thought I would captain stalwarts,says Pujara

The match Kaif attempted to replay in his mind was indeed against the Katich-lead side but the reason he is not able to pinpoint the date was because he last featured in an India ‘A’ side five years ago.

On Monday,Kaif was named in the ‘A’ team scheduled to play West Indies ‘A’ in two four-day games in October.

The news momentarily shifted his attention from what has been his primary concern recently — his mother who is undergoing radiation and chemotherapy sessions after being diagnosed with cancer. Also Read: New life for old hands

Kaif,himself,has been battling to stay relevant after falling down the pecking order. “At this stage in my career I am looking to play as many matches as possible. I am 32 now and I need to score as many runs as I can because there are a lot of talented players who are coming through the ranks and some of them have established themselves. Earlier if there was a bunch of 30 now there are 60 to 70 players. What will hold me in good stead,other than the runs I make,is my experience of being in tough-match situations before,” Kaif said.

To keep his career ticking over,Kaif has not let an opportunity pass. “I have stopped thinking about whether there are spectators watching me or selectors watching me. My next match is at Dharamsala for Air India. I have played in the Times Shield,the hot weather tournaments,in the Buchi Babu Invitational tournament and in club matches. I don’t want to take a break because I fear it will upset my rhythm and that is something I can do without,” Kaif added.

He,however,is not in a position to play all tournaments. The Indian Premier League is one,which he has had to miss.

“I would have loved to be part of the IPL but that is not in my hands. I have seen youngsters become stars overnight because of their performances in the IPL. The nature of the game has changed and I have made peace with it. I may have missed out on the spotlight by not playing in the IPL,but the selectors don’t look at IPL performances alone. I know the formula to build innings and make runs in the longer format. I may not be scoring 1,000 runs a year but I make 600-700 runs a season,” Kaif said.

Two knocks that Kaif drew satisfaction from was his 152 versus Karnataka in Shimoga in the 2011-12 Ranji Trophy season and the 70 he scored against the same opponents in the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 played at Indore in March.

“I hit four sixes in that innings at the Holkar Stadium in Indore and in one over I scored 24 runs. I don’t think I have hit so many sixes in a single innings.”

Kaif,though,is not indicating at a transformation in his approach to batting. “I am someone around whom others can bat. I am aware of my strengths.”

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