Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kaif’s South African safari ends before IPL starts

Mohammad Kaif’s South African safari has ended even before the first ball has been bowled in the second season of the Indian Premier League. Kaif and seven others are on their way back home even before the tournament starts. The defending champions who are based in Cape Town have decided to drop the former India Under-19 captain just three days ahead of their first encounter with the Bangalore Royal Challengers.

Kaif was one of the highest paid Indian cricketers for the Royals with a price tag of USD 675,000. He had a poor season last year averaging a disappointing 16 in spite of playing all the matches. This will be a huge blow for the UP skipper who has been sweating it out to get back his place in the national side.

What might have hurt Kaif’s case is the performance of little known players like Swapnil Asnodkar, Niraj Patel and Yusuf Pathan in the first season. These little known names under the inspirational leadership of spin wizard Shane Warne made sure the Royals brought home the trophy in spite of pundits writing them off right from the word go.

The Uttar Pradesh captain was once considered to be the future of Indian cricket after his the famous knock he had played at Lords in 2002 NatWest Trophy to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. But sadly that was the only innings Kaif is remembered for and in spite of spirited performances at the domestic level he has never been able to wear the Indian colours again.

Rajasthan Royals team management stated that it was additional expense for them to keep the entire squad in South Africa and thus they had taken this decision. Rajasthan Royals might have just set a trend and we might see other franchises following the RR and trimming down the expenses as they already are incurring additional costs after the tournament got shifted to South Africa in wake of the Lok Sabha Elections.


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