first_imgMohammad Kaif announced his retirement from all forms of competitive cricket on Friday, on the 16th anniversary of the historic NatWest Series win.On July 13 2002, Kaif played an unbeaten knock of 87 as India chased down an imposing total of 326 to beat England by two wickets in the NatWest Series final.The 37-year-old took to Twitter to announce his decision, almost 12 years after he last played for the Indian team in which he stood out as much for his acrobatic fielding as for his effective lower-order batting.”I’m calling it a day and announcing my retirement from all first-class cricket. It made sense to do so on July 13. Each of our professional lives is defined by one moment more than any other, 16 years ago today, July 13 2002, was that moment for me, at the NatWest Series Final at Lord’s. It seems apt to bid goodbye on this day,” wrote Kaif.When I started playing Cricket,the dream was to play in the India Cap one day.Have been very fortunate to step on to the field & represent my country on 190 days of my life. Today is an apt day for me to announce my retirement from all competetive Cricket. Thank you everyone Kaif (@MohammadKaif) July 13, 2018Kaif played 13 Tests and 125 ODIs for India. He was a part of the Indian team that reached the World Cup final in South Africa. Along with Yuvraj Singh, Kaif was among the stars to emerge from the U-19 India stable after leading the Colts to a maiden Junior World Cup triumph in 2000.advertisementKaif, who has won the Ranji Trophy for UP, last played first class cricket for Chattisgarh.Kaif will always be remembered as being one of the finest fielders that India has ever produced.You’ve chosen the best day to announce your retirement, @MohammadKaif. Those memories are still fresh in our minds. May Lord bless you with more and more success, just like the one at Lord’s back in 2002. My best wishes to you always. Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) July 13, 2018Congratulations on a fantastic career Kaif. You can be very proud of your efforts and my best wishes to you and your familyVVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) July 13, 2018Well done on ur career bhaisaab @MohammadKaif you were the one who changed the mind set of the fielding in Indian cricket.even though I would have liked u to stay slightly behind on d 30yard circle bT I knew u had d best intention;) Wish you all d luck for ur future endeavoursIrfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) July 13, 201813-07-02 a new era of Indian power cricket began.13-07-18 the hero of that game retires.Thanks @MohammadKaif for being a great friend and a loyal lover of this game which connects us all.Wishing you all the happiness and success in life ahead.Good luck.Bhai shab Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) July 13, 2018During the five years that he was an India regular, it was his electric reflexes inside the 30 yard circle, especially the cover region, that made him special.Along with Yuvraj Singh at point, Kaif formed the backbone of Indian fielding during the time Sourav Ganguly led the Indian cricketing renaissance. One of the fittest cricketers of his time, a batting average of 32 in 125 ODIs, with only two hundreds, don’t tell the story of Kaif’s fighting abilities coming at No 6 or 7 with only few deliveries to play.In his 13 Test appearances, Kaif logged 2753 runs at an average of 32.01, including two hundreds and 17 half-centuries.An apt day to make this announcement Kaif (@MohammadKaif) July 13, 2018Apart from his Lord’s knock, Kaif’s hundred against Zimbabwe in the Champions Trophy 2002 will also remain in memory as he lifted the team from the dumps after the top order found itself back in the pavilion for less than 100 on the board.However, issues with his technique made him vulnerable against top quality pacers, something that was exposed thoroughly during the 2006 tour of South Africa.He never played for India again but remained a quality player in domestic cricket leading UP for many years.He finished with 7581 first class runs with 15 hundreds across 129 matches.Kaif is already a cricket analyst and a respected hindi commentator.(With PTI inputs)last_img read more