| KAIF: Coming of age
Dhaka: Mohammed Kaif believes the No. 4 slot has given his career a fresh lease of life and he is happy to have justified the faith shown in him by the captain.
The middle-order batsman struggled for runs in the early stages of the World Cup but the team management’s decision to push him up seems to have done wonders to his confidence.
The wily youngster is now keen to repay the trust shown by Sourav Ganguly by scoring consistently. The promotion has presented him the opportunity to build his innings and Kaif’s unbeaten 95 off 103 balls in Sunday’s tri-series match against South Africa spoke volumes of this confidence.
“I was waiting for such an innings for quite a while. It is a great feeling to have contributed to the team’s cause and I hope to do it more often,” Kaif said.
Kaif knows that the No. 4 position will give him the chance to get big scores and also improve his average. He has a one-day aggregate of 1017 runs in 50 matches (41 innings) at 31.78.
The right-hander might have missed out on a second ODI hundred Sunday, but feels the interest of the team is more important than personal milestones.
“Not getting the century does not disturb me. I am quite happy to have done the job for my country. You play for the team not for yourself,” he said.
Apart from his batting skills, the 22-year-old’s electrifying fielding and sharp running between wickets have made him a real asset to the Indian ODI team.
Surprisingly, Kaif and Yuvraj Singh got involved in a mix-up in Sunday’s match resulting in the run out of the latter, though the two are known to understand each other rather well.
“I have very good understanding with Yuvraj but it is one of those things that can happen in a game. This is only the second time that the two of us were involved in a run out,” Kaif said.
“At that stage I was a little worried because Yuvraj was playing well and he is in good form. We needed him at that time. But (Dinesh) Mongia played a great knock which helped us get a big total,” Kaif said.
The energetic Kaif said cricketers these days must be prepared to play in any condition. “The conditions here are hot and humid and it is definitely not easy for bowlers, but you have to adjust.”