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Home > Cricket > Report

Pick Kaif for World Cup, says Wadekar

Harish Kotian | February 09, 2007 17:12 IST

Former chairman of selectors Ajit Wadekar says Mohammad Kaif deserves a place in the Indian squad for the 2007 World Cup, in the West Indies.

"Kaif has done quite well in the past. He has performed well whenever given a chance lower down the order, so I am surprised to see him being neglected," Wadekar told on Friday.

Kaif performed well in the one-day series in the West Indies last year, scoring three half-centuries in five matches, but since then has failed to find a permanent place in the batting order.

After India's debacle in the one-dayers in South Africa, he was dropped from the team and has since then not been recalled, giving a clear signal that the selectors are not considering him for the World Cup.

However, Wadekar feels Kaif's brilliance in the field should give him the nod ahead of a few others for the mega event in March-April.

"After all, in today's cricket runs saved are run scored, so that's why Kaif is very important in the team. As you have seen in the past, he has played some very crucial match-winning innings coming in late down the order," added the former India captain and coach.

"Kaif deserves more chances. He must be picked for World Cup," he said.

Wadekar also feels that though places must not be taken for granted, Virender Sehwag, if back in form, could just make the difference.

"India require a player like Sehwag who can get you those quick starts. A blazing start lays the perfect foundation for players like Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar," he added.

He said either Mahendra Singh Dhoni or Dinesh Karthik should be included, since Dravid can take up wicketkeeping duties in case of an emergency.

"I would certainly prefer Karthik, since, I think, he is a good wicketkeeper and is in good batting form."

There is no place for Uttar Pradesh youngster Suresh Raina or Mumbai spinner Ramesh Powar in Wadekar's squad.

The 15-member Indian squad for the World Cup will be picked on Monday, February 12, in Mumbai.

Wadekar's 15-man World Cup squad:

Sourav Ganguly
Virender Sehwag
Robin Uthappa/Gautam Gambhir
Rahul Dravid (captain)
Sachin Tendulkar
Yuvraj Singh
Mohammad Kaif
M S Dhoni/Dinesh Karthik (w/k)
Zaheer Khan
S Sreesanth
Ajit Agarkar
Irfan Pathan
Munaf Patel
Harbhajan Singh
Anil Kumble