Mohammad Kaif may be a former Indian cricketer who played Tests and ODIs. He made it to the national team on the strength of his performances at the Under-19 level, where he captained the India national Under-19 cricket team to victory within the Under-19 World Cup in 2000. Kaif is also known worldwide for his heroic performance in the 2002 Natwest Series.
Mohammad Kaif was born to a middle-class family on December 1, 1980, in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India. He started his career at Green Park Hostel, Kanpur. His father, Mohammad Tarif Ansari, played for the Railways cricket team and the Uttar Pradesh cricket team. Furthermore, Kaif’s brother Mohammad Saif plays for the Madhya Pradesh cricket team & Uttar Pradesh cricket team.
Kaif married Pooja Yadav, a Noida-based journalist, in 2011.
As of July 2005, Kaif was one of the sole five cricketers from Uttar Pradesh state to represent India internationally. In 2009, the three Uttar Pradesh regulars represented the Indian team-Suresh Raina, Praveen Kumar, and Rudra Pratap Singh, within the ODI team. Kaif was the captain of both Central Zone and Uttar Pradesh. Moreover, he also captained the national ODI team in the 2005/06 Challenger Trophy in the absence of captain Rahul Dravid.
Mohammad Kaif became a national hero overnight when he scored an unbeaten 75-ball 87 runs within the 2002 Natwest Series final against England. He batted with Yuvraj Singh, and together they scored a whopping 121 runs. Kaif was given the Man Of The Match for his magnificent performance as India managed to chase a record-breaking target of 326.
Mohammad Kaif made his Test debut in 2000in Bangalore soon after he earned his place in the National Cricket Academy, Bangalore.
Furthermore, his early international career started off as patchy, with the occasional outstanding performance protected by ordinary batting. His most famous inning was helping India chase down 326 with 87* off 75 balls within the 2002 NatWest Series Final. The trouble earned him his first Man of the Match award.
In the series against Bangladesh in late 2004, he earned the Man of the Series award for consistency in the three ODIs.
Kaif earned himself a Test cap against South Africa at a pretty young (at the age of 20), though later, he dropped from the national side due to some unsatisfactory performances. Kaif made a real comeback to the Test side against Australia late in 2004, scoring two half-centuries.
He was a fast runner between the wickets and a superb cover fielder, most notable for his agility and throwing accuracy. Moreover, he holds the record for the most catches by a fielder during a World Cup match – four, against Sri Lanka within the 2003 World Cup at Johannesburg in 2003.
Mohammad Kaif represented the victorious Rajasthan Royals within the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League in 2008. He played the matches for the team altogether. Kaif had a poor run within the series, mustering only 176 runs at an average of 16.00. On April 15, 2009, Kaif dropped out of the Rajasthan Royals squad due to a poor performance overall.
Kings XI Punjab bought Kaif to play in the 2010 Indian Premier League.
Royal Challengers Bangalore bought Kaif to play in the 2011 Indian Premier League within the third round of bidding. Furthermore, Kaif became the only player to be requested for a third time bidding. Later in an interview, Subrata Roy of Sahara India stated that he asked for the 3rd round of bidding because he thought Kaif should find an area in an IPL team.
After a commendable career, Mohammed Kaif announced retirement from all forms of cricket on July 31, 2018.
“I played a role in India’s historic win in the Natwest Trophy final 16 years back. This is the reason I am calling it a day on July 13. I want to thank one and all who have supported me in this journey,” Kaif announced through a Twitter post.
Furthermore, in 13 Tests Kaif played for India, he scored 624 runs averaging 32.84. In 125 ODI matches, the right-handed batsman got up to 2753 runs at an average of 32.01.
Where Is He Now?
Mohammad Kaif joined Indian National Congress and contested the 2014 Loksabha election from Phulpur in Uttar Pradesh and lost to Keshav Prasad Maurya of the BJP.
Mohammed Kaif joined the Gujrat Lions as an assistant coach in 2017.
Furthermore, after two seasons with the Gujrat Lions, Kaif joined the Delhi Capitals as the assistant coach for the squad.