Looking back at the 3 most memorable knocks of Mohammad Kaif's career
Born on 1 December 1980, Mohammad Kaif is a former Indian batsman primarily known for his acrobatic fielding and catching skills. The 38-year-old represented India from 2000-2006 and was an important cog in the ODI squad. The Allahabad-born right-handed batsman featured in 125 ODIs and 13 Test matches during his career.
Kaif made his entry into the international stage at the age of 20 against South Africa, in the second Test of the two-match Test series at home. He couldn’t make an impression though, as he scored 12 and 23 in the two innings that led to him being dropped from the Test side for an year.
However, he came into the limelight again in the ODI format, where he made an immediate impression both with his batting and fielding. He went on to become a permanent fixture in limited overs cricket for a while; he and Yuvraj were the two most important factors in improving the fielding standards of Indian players.
However, a dip in form and heavy competition eventually led to Kaif's ouster from the national side. He last played for India in the year of 2006 against South Africa in South Africa, where he was dismissed for 10.
Kaif then played 22 games in four seasons of the Indian Premier League for three different franchises, but couldn’t achieve much success. He announced his retirement from all forms of cricket earlier this year, and currently he is part of the commentary team for Star Network.
As Kaif turns 38 today, let us look at the three most memorable knocks of his career:
#3 102* vs New Zealand at Harare (2005 Videocon Cup)
This was during the tri-nation ODI series between India, New Zealand and hosts Zimbabwe. Electing to bat first, New Zealand got off to a good start thanks to skipper Stephen Fleming and swashbuckling batsman Nathan Astle.
Despite losing wickets in the middle overs, New Zealand put up a good total of 278/9 in the allocated 50 overs. Scott Styris was the top scorer for the Kiwis with 56. Ashish Nehra, meanwhile, was the pick of the bowlers with 2-57, and Ajit Agarkar and Irfan Pathan shared two wickets apiece.
In reply, India got off to a rollicking start thanks to Virender Sehwag’s quickfire 45 off 34 deliveries. Kaif was promoted to No. 3 ahead of Rahul Dravid, and he made full use of the situation.
He was in sublime touch that day as he scored boundaries at will and looked in no trouble against the Kiwi pace attack. He added 101 runs for the third wicket along with Rahul Dravid, and ensured that India were on their way to a win.
The right-handed batsman scored a stroke-filled 102*, and India won the game by 6 wickets with more than two overs to spare.
Kaif’s 102 comprised of 11 boundaries, and this knock earned him the Man of the Match award.