Mohammad Kaif declared his retirement from all types of fierce cricket today, nearly 12 years after he last played for the Indian team in which he stands out as much for his involving fielding as for his efficacious lower-order batting.
Kaif has played 138 international matches for India counting 13 Tests and 125 ODIs with an average of 32.84 and 32.01 distinguishable. He would always be placed for his unbeaten match and series winning knock of 87 in the 2002 epic Natwest series final against England at the home of cricket. He had a 121-run sixth wicket partnership with Yuvraj Singh in the 326 run-chase. Kaif wrote to the acting president CK Khanna and acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary, announcing his retirement.
“I’m writing to you today to announce my retirement from all types of first-class cricket,” stated Kaif in an email.
Kaif was a part of the team in the 2003 World Cup final held in South Africa. Kaif was the captain of the Indian team that won the Under-19 World Cup in 2000 and got a call for the national team due to his performances at this level.
At the interior level, Kaif won the Ranji Trophy for Uttar Pradesh and last played for Chattisgarh. Mentioning the reason for his retirement, Kaif stated that it was the 16th anniversary of the NatWest series final and expressed how grateful he felt to represent the Indian national cricket team.
“I am retiring today as it’s been 16 years since the historic NatWest Trophy win in which I was glad to play my part, and I’d like to remember that as I bow out,’ he wrote.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to have won the Indian cap, and to have gone on to play 125 ODIs and 13 Tests for India, and for several other moments.”
During the five years that he was an Indian regular, it was his electric reflexes inside the 30-yard circle, substantially the cover region, that made him special. Along with Yuvraj Singh at the point, Kaif formed the backbone of Indian fielding during the Sourav Ganguly led the Indian cricketing renaissance.
Apart from the performance, Kaif’s hundred against Zimbabwe in the Champions Trophy 2002 will also remain in memory as he lifted the team from the dumps after the top order found itself back in the pavilion for less than 100 on the board. He even made a good comeback to the Test side in 22004 against Australia but eventually failed to hold on to his place due to lack of consistency and his faulty technique.
Although, issues with his technique made him vulnerable against top quality pacers, something that was exposed thoroughly during the 2006 tour of South Africa. He never played for India again but remained a quality player in internal cricket leading UP for many years. He finished with 7581 first-class runs with 15 hundred across 129 matches. Kaif is already a cricket investigator and a respected Hindi commentator.