Sunday, July 15, 2018

Farewell Mohammad Kaif

13th July, 2018 - Mohammad Kaif announces his retirement from all forms of cricket.

Funny thing - never realized that its been almost 12 years (!!!) since he last played for India, or the fact that he hasn't even appeared in the IPL for many, many seasons now. Yes, he was still playing in the Ranji Trophy, but somehow never gave the impression that it had been ages since we last saw Kaif in action. 

The man does have a sense of timing and occasion. After all it was 16 years to the day of his greatest triumph as an India player. The day when India chased down 326 against England at Lords after having lost half their side riding on the brilliance of two youngsters who defied every conventional wisdom and somehow took India to a miraculous victory! It was certainly one of the most memorable and storied games for the Indian fan! I was in a hostel at that time and after the first few wickets fell, had given up and went to sleep. It was only afterwards that I got to know about what I missed. [That England tour was funny, I also missed Agarkar's Lords century!]

Coming back to Kaif, this wasn't his only great innings. He produced many a rearguard, batting at 7 in ODIs either finishing off the innings in style or stabilizing a top order collapse. That innings however set India up on a glorious run off couple of years, where we started winning more ODIs, both home and abroad! More importantly, it was the innings which made us believe in miracles and that oldd adage, "its not over till the last ball is bowled".

To be fair to Kaif, this wasn't his only career high - after all the man has won two World Cups, as a U-15 player and U-19 captain and been a runner-up in the senior World Cup as well. There is even a Test century in the West Indies, in what was ironically his last Test for India! Some selections are always weird! And he was a brilliant fielder.

How will be remember Kaif - a decent batter, sharp runner between the wickets, a brilliant fielder, world cup winning captain and above all for that innings of 87 at Lords on 13th July, 2002.

Dear Mohammad Kaif, hope you have a wonderful second innings ahead - whether it is stints behind the microphone, or another run at politics. Also, please continue shutting up the trolls on social media!