Mohammad Kaif might have not got the chances he deserved but the former India batsman has no regrets as to how his career panned out. The 37-year-old recently called time on a career that saw him play 13 Tests and 125 ODIs for India.
Uttar Pradesh-born Kaif is best remembered for his exploits in the NatWest Trophy final at Lord’s in 2002 where his partnership with Yuvraj Singh helped India chase down 326 against England. The excellent fielder played in a highly talented India team which included the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman among others.
“Honestly, I’ve not quit with regrets. I played in a golden generation of Indian cricket,” Kaif told Mumbai Mirror in an interview.
“We did everything on your own. In a way we were self-taught, so it was even more satisfying to achieve what we did,” he added.
Known as a superb fielder, Kaif’s last appearance for India came in an ODI against South Africa in 2006. If there is any regret that the India man has about his career, it is his reluctance to approach the senior players in the squad at the time for advice.
“I never had formal coaching so to speak so I couldn’t become a copybook player. I didn’t have an orthodox game in that I couldn’t align my shoulder and elbow in line with the ball the way technically sound batsmen do,” he explained.
“Only late in my career after I was dropped did I receive advice. During the 2008 IPL, Aamir Sohail (former Pakistan international) suggested that if I could shorten the gap between my hands, I could pack more power behind my shots.
“Being shy, I was reluctant to approach my seniors. I didn’t pick the brains of somebody like Greg Chappell (then coach of India). That worked against my development. I’d sweat it out at nets, but sometimes you need to approach the right people too in order to improve. I could have asked any of my seniors to join me for dinner, discussed where my career was going or minor aspects of my game like the stance.”
A run of 28 runs in three ODI innings during India’s tour of South Africa in 2002 spelled the end of Kaif’s career with the Indian team. In 125 ODIs for India, Kaif scored 2, 753 runs at an average of over 32 with the help of 2 tons and 17 half-centuries.
Know more about Sport360 Application