Mohammad Kaif announced his retirement from all forms of competitive cricket on July 13. The 37-year-old played 13 Tests and 125 ODIs for India. Hailing from Allahabad, Kaif, was known for his acrobatic fielding and his effective middle-order batting.
In an exclusive interview with Republic TV, he spoke about his decision to call time on his career, his memorable knock in the 2002 Natwest Final and much more.
Kaif chose a landmark day to announce his retirement, which comes 16 years to the day he scored a heroic 87 at Lord's to win his side the NatWest trophy.
Revealing his decision about why he decided to hang up his boots, he said, "I've been thinking this for a while, as I didn't get much time to spend with my family. I plan on spending time with my child as I was away from them due to professional commitments"
"But I promise to be connected to the game in future by working with the younger boys", he added.
The 37-year old played his last international match almost 12 years ago. However, he continued to play first class cricket representing UP and Chattisgarh in the Ranji trophy.
Kaif further goes on by taking a trip down the memory lane, reminiscing his memorable knock in the 2002 Natwest final. The Sourav Ganguly-led Indian side won the NatWest tri-series, playing one of the most dramatic finals against hosts England at The Lord's. This historic moment will forever hold a special place in his heart, Kaif says.
The former Indian cricketer faced a sweet dilemma, when asked to pick between Green Park or Lord's. However, Kaif picked Green Park, as that was the place where he began his cricketing career and went on to achieve many milestones from there.
Speaking about his accomplishments, he believes it is a "fantastic feeling" to win a World Cup after leading the Colts to a maiden Junior World Cup triumph in 2000. He was also part of the Indian team that reached the World Cup final in South Africa.
Having played with both Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh, he was asked to pick the better all-rounder. Kaif replied, "Yuvraj Singh". He believes Yuvraj is a "phenomenal player" with the ability to play some match-winning knocks, that makes him stand out between the two. He further adds, "winning the World Cup with Yuvraj was special"
Kaif was asked to rank Sourav Ganguly, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli in order of captaincy abilities. He went on to rank Sourav Ganguly at number one spot followed by MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. He claimed Ganguly helped him a lot in his career which made him occupy pole position. Whereas, between MSD and Kohli, he felt Dhoni was far more composed than the current Indian skipper.
The most important question came towards Kaif was when he was asked to pick between Sachin Tendulkar and Kohli. His answer came as a surprise as he went on to pick Kohli, given his immense form. There were some more surprising revelations as he went on to reveal a lot more in this exclusive interview. Find out by watching the video above!