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July 14, 2012
Mohammad Kaif, who last played for India in 2006, has found support from former captain Anil Kumble. Kaif, Kumble said, could add value to an Indian Test team that is without Rahul Dravid, and will only lose out on more experience once the other seniors retire.
"Kaif is only 31, and I believe this is the time when, as a batsman, you are nearing the peak of your powers," Kumble told Wisden India. "He has been consistent in domestic cricket, had a good last season, and he continues to be a brilliant fielder. As much as anything else, he has great attitude, so I don't see why they should not look at him at the Test level. I really am at a loss to figure out where and why he missed out."
Kaif, who had given up the Uttar Pradesh captaincy prior to the 2011-12 season, went on to score 537 runs in the last Ranji Trophy, at an average of 59.66. He has played 13 Tests, spread over a period of six years. His 624 Test runs came at an average of 32.84, with his only century coming in his last series for India, against West Indies in mid-2006. Kaif averaged 56.50 in that series - second only to Dravid.
"I think that was the time when a lot of flamboyant cricketers came to the fore - the likes of [Suresh] Raina, Rohit [Sharma] and, a little later, [Virat] Kohli," Kumble said. "Kaif has always been a solid, disciplined performer, and perhaps in the clamour for flamboyance, the selectors lost track of him.
"He has the experience and the technique to do well, as he has shown in the past. I can understand the selectors wanting to look ahead when it comes to the one-day game, but as far as Test cricket is concerned, Kaif is still a very good bat."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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