Mohammad Kaif announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Friday (July 13), calling curtains on a two decade-long domestic career.
The reliable right-handed batsman and acrobatic fielder also finishes with 138 international caps to his name, turning out in 13 Tests and 125 One-Day Internationals for India between 2000 and 2006. One of his career-highs came in 2002, when he steered India to a thrilling win over England to win the Natwest Series final.
That achievement – an unbeaten 87 – meant so much to Kaif that he deliberately chose to make the announcement on the 16th anniversary of that fabled match at Lord’s.
“When I started playing cricket, the dream was to play in the India cap one day,” Kaif announced on Twitter. “Have been very fortunate to step on to the field & represent my country on 190 days of my life. Today is an apt day for me to announce my retirement from all competitive Cricket. Thank you everyone.”
“Despite the other joyful moments, July 13, 2002 was different,” Kaif continued in a note attached with the tweet. “Sixteen years ago today was a joyful, gleeful, unforgettable coming-of-age, mere months after I turned 21. With Viru, Sachin Paaji, Dada and Jam-Rahul back in the pavillion, 326 seemed impossible. My own family, by the way, decided not to watch anymore, went off to see a movie and missed the rest of the game! However, no one told Yuvraj and me that we were expected to lose. So we expected to win.
“Our 121-run stand, and the win, coming 19 years after India’s 1983 World Cup win, also at Lord’s, was incredibly special,” Kaif said.
Kaif, who led India to the Under-19 World Cup title in 2000, didn’t get a chance to represent India after 2006 but remained a force in the domestic circuit. In a total of 186 first-class games, he amassed 10,229 runs at 38.60. He enjoyed many years with his native Uttar Pradesh side, also leading the team. He was appointed captain of the newly formed Chhattisgarh from the 2016-17 season onwards.