'Today was an apt day', says Mohammad Kaif after announcing retirement
Two decades after making his first-class debut, and exactly sixteen years after steering India to a remarkable win over England in the NatWest series, Mohammad Kaif decided to call it quits as a player.
The announcement came more than 12 years after he last represented India at the international level, playing his final game for India in an ODI in November 2006. He continued his career with Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy, leading them to their maiden title, and then moved on to represent Andhra, and subsequently Chattisgarh.
He spoke to Sportskeeda after making the decision public, stating that the decision wasn't an impulsive one.
"It was on my mind for some time. For the last two years, I was captaining and mentoring a young Chhattisgarh side".
His announcement date marked the sixteenth anniversary of the NatWest series win in England, perhaps the most celebrated moment of his career. His unbeaten 87 ensured India chased down an improbable target and kickstarted a wave of revolution in Indian cricket that continues to ascend further with each passing year.
"Today was an apt day. As I mentioned in my retirement note, some moments define your career more than others and 16 years ago, today was that moment for me. So yes, fitting to end in this day".
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Having dabbled in coaching and broadcasting, Kaif hasn't thought about a concrete plan for the future, but wishes to take things as and when they come. He did not rule out being involved with the game as well.
"I will think about what lies ahead. There are various things. I would definitely want to be associated with the game in some way".
One of India's finest fielders, and an inspiration for India's youth brigade that doesn't shy away from throwing themselves around the park, or the ball on the stumps, Kaif retires with a legacy, not as a batsman or a bowler, but a pioneer of ground fielding and sharp catching that has become synonymous with the Men in Blue today.