At 26, Mohammed Kaif has set himself a new mission - to get his India cap back. CNN-IBN's Chief Cricket Correspondent Nishant Arora spoke exclusively to the man on his comeback trail.
Mohammad Kaif: Whatever I have contributed for my country for the last 5-6 years, I'm happy because if you look at my average and the positions I have batted in the Indian team. Overall I'm happy the way it has gone for me.
The ups and downs will always be there because I have been playing for a while, and no cricketer probably would have gone only one way, doing well all the time. Somewhere, you have to take the roller-coaster journey, which probably I'm facing at the moment. Overall I'm happy the way I have played for my country.
Nishant Arora: Last year, exactly around this time, India toured the West Indies and you did very well. You did well in the one-dayers, your average in the Test series was second best in in the entire team. Rahul Dravid topped the averages and you were No. 2. After that, you didn't get a chance to play a Test match.
Mohammad Kaif: I wouldn't like to comment on that. But during the West Indies tour was the one I got most number of opportunities - I played all the five one-dayers and four Tests there - which felt good.
I also made my first Test century (148 not out), and after that, one more Test match, I didn't get a chance after that. It was overall a good series for me in the West Indies, but not getting picked is not in my control.
Nishant Arora: Is it a conscious effort from your side? You play hot weather cricket every year, whenever you get a chance, you play for your employers, a club team, whichever team you are associated in. But this year, is there a conscious effort to make sure that whatever chance you get, you should make the headlines for all the right reasons?
Mohammad Kaif: Yes, I have been doing that. That was the plan since I got dropped from the team. I played for my state in the one-day matches, I made the highest one-day score of 151 after getting dropped from the Indian cricket team.
So, I have been working hard, I have got a couple of centuries in the one-dayers, been playing some local tournaments, taking the chance to play for the organisation I work for. It can be tough at 44 degrees out there, but I have to get up at six in the morning and play some matches. But it's been a good experience.