The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kaif happy to be at No. 4
Kaif: For positive criticism

Lucknow: Mohammed Kaif Friday said he felt much more comfortable and relaxed during the World Cup, partly because he was promoted to the No. 4 batting slot.

Kaif, who played a memorable match-winning knock in the NatWest Trophy final in England last year, said he was feeling a lot better now after having established his place in the team.

“The NatWest Trophy was more important to me personally as I was establishing myself while in the World Cup things were more comfortable with the whole team striking well and performing well to reach the final,” Kaif said here.

Kaif said the No.4 slot had also considerably reduced the pressure on him.

“I had been batting at the number four position in the junior tournaments and am more comfortable at this position,” he said. However, he dismissed as “premature”, suggestions that he was a future captain material.

“It has been only 12 to 14 months since I have been continuously playing in the side. I need a long experience and it would be premature to even think about captaincy,” he said.

Taking exception to criticisms that players’ handsome earnings through advertisements had made them lax towards the game, Kaif said people should desist from making such negative comments.

“Criticism is vital and necessary but it should be positive and constructive,” he stressed.

He also criticised the angry outburst of fans in his hometown Allahabad after India’s loss to Australia in the league stage but said he did not allow those incidents to affect his concentration.

“The episode had no bearing on us as we were focussing on the next matches and knew that an odd defeat earlier in the tournament would not affect our chances in the tournament and it was proved right,” he said.

Kaif said the upcoming tri-nation tournament in Dhaka next week would be an excellent opportunity for some newcomers in the side to make their mark and gain experience.

“The tournament will provide enough opportunity to the four debutants to make their presence felt, in the absence of seniors,” he said. He advocated staging of more tournaments to discover talent in Uttar Pradesh.

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