Mohammad Kaif, 37, retired from all forms of cricket on Friday, 16 years after he steered India to one of their most memorable victories in ODI history – beating England by chasing down 325 at Lord’s in the NatWest Series final.
Kaif ended a two-decade long first-class career that began in 1997-98. He played 13 Tests and 125 ODIs in an international career that spanned six years (2000-2006), his last game for India coming more than 12 years ago, during the tour of South Africa in 2006. He also captained India to their first Under-19 World Cup win, in 2000.
“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 in a letter to the BCCI. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have worn the India cap, and to have gone on to play 125 ODIs and 13 Tests for India, and for several other moments.”
A domestic stalwart who played for three sides, Kaif’s association with his home state Uttar Pradesh was the most prominent, having led them to a maiden Ranji Trophy title by beating Bengal in 2005-06. Renowned for being a gritty batsman and an excellent fielder, Kaif finished with 10,229 runs in 186 first-class matches at an average of 38.60.
Kaif quit Uttar Pradesh in 2014-15 and moved to Andhra as a professional for two seasons. In 2016-17, he led new entrants Chhattisgarh in their maiden Ranji Trophy season. He continued to play a key role as a member of their support staff the following season, even though his appearances as a player were sporadic.
Post-retirement, Kaif hoped to be involved in a coaching or mentoring role. He was assistant coach of the now erstwhile Gujarat Lions in the IPL and wants to play a similar role in domestic cricket. Apart from short-term coaching assignments, Kaif is also keen to pursue media interests and hindi cricket commentary.