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April 15, 2009
Mohammad Kaif has been left out of Rajasthan Royals' final squad which will remain in South Africa for the 2009 season of the IPL. However, he may return if there are injuries to other members of the team.
The other six players who are returning to India are Dinesh Salunkhe, Paras Dogra, Anup Revandkar, Srideep Mangela, Ashraf Makda and Azhar Malik. Salunkhe was the legspinner who was included in the 2008 squad through a TV talent-hunt show.
Kaif was Rajasthan Royals' most expensive buy at $675,000 during the first auction in 2008. He played all 16 matches in Rajasthan's victorious campaign in the inaugural IPL but scored only 176 runs at an average of 16.
"It has always been a target to pick a final squad of 17-18 players, and this year we have an even stronger squad than last year," Manoj Badale, the owner of the franchise said. "It is disappointing to have to let go of any players, as they are all stars in our view. Much of the attention will focus on Mohammed Kaif, who has been a key part of our success to date - not just as a batsman, but as a role model for our younger Indian players. He has been extremely supportive of the decision, which says a lot about him as a person. Injuries and new conditions mean that the player's participation later in the tournament is not ruled out."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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