The recently-held Indian Premier League (IPL) Player Auction in Bangalore has given a few veterans of Indian cricket a reality check. One of them was the 33-year-old Mohammad Kaif, who did not attract any bid from the eight IPL teams. This has forced him to assess his future. Going unsold in the auction, came as a big blow to Kaif.
Mohammad Kaif fields during a practice session ahead of the BCCI Corporate Trophy at the BKC ground on Saturday. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
"It certainly was a big blow. I had a decent season with Uttar Pradesh. I am as fit as any other Indian youngster. So, it will be tough to get over (the IPL snub), but life has to move on," Kaif said on the sidelines of Air India's practice session ahead of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) Corporate Trophy at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground on Saturday.
Kaif had an ordinary Ranji Trophy season with UP, who progressed to the quarter-finals. He aggregated 217 runs in eight matches at an average of 16.69. Kaif, known for his acrobatic fielding, grabbed eight catches — the second most by any fielder in the team apart from the wicketkeeper.
Kaif had high hopes from this IPL. "I was really looking forward to it. I also kept my base price very low at Rs 30 lakh which was the minimum for an India international player," he explained.
Kaif, however, was quick to clarify that he was not eyeing the money. "It was not about money. My aim was to be in the scheme of things. I still feel I have enough to contribute. I am still quick enough on the field," said Kaif, with disappointment quite visible on his face.
'Will assess myself'
Kaif said the IPL setback would now force him to assess his future. "Definitely, I would be assessing what is lacking. I would let this season get over and then see where I am heading," he said.
When he was pressed to elaborate, Kaif said: "You are trying to dig further. As I said, let this season get over and then I would like to assess myself. I am here to play the Corporate Trophy and I would like to enjoy it thoroughly."
Kaif, however, left giving ominous hints of retirement being around the corner. Barring the inaugural edition in 2008 where he was Rajasthan Royals' most expensive buy at USD 675,000, the IPL has not been very memorable for Kaif. He was axed by the RR management the following season.
For the 2009 edition, Kings XI Punjab bought him for USD 250,000 with whom he played only four matches. In the 2011 auction, Royal Challengers Bangalore bought him in the third round of bidding in a reportedly special provision only to accommodate Kaif.