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02 March 2024

India's Natwest hero Kaif retires from cricket at 37

Photo: AFP


Indian batsman Mohammad Kaif on Friday retired from all forms of cricket - nearly 12 years after he last stepped out to play an international match for his country.

Kaif, who played 125 one-day internationals during his six-year career, is famous for his match-winning 87 in the Natwest final against England at Lord's in 2002.

The 37-year-old Kaif, a lightning quick fielder and a useful middle-order batsman, decided to quit on the same day he hit the memorable knock - July 13.

"It was 16 years back on this day - July 13 - that we won the Natwest Trophy and I played an important role. So it's apt that I retire from all forms of cricket on this day," Kaif said in a video message on Twitter.

"It's been a while since I last played for India, so people think that I am already retired but I was busy playing domestic cricket.

"But it's time to thank all those who helped me along this journey, my family, and teammates."

Kaif anchored India's 326-run chase during his 121-run partnership with Yuvraj Singh to give his team a two-wicket win in the last over.

Indian captain Sourav Ganguly celebrated the win by taking off his shirt and waving it from the Lord's balcony, one of the game's most enduring images.

Kaif, who played just 13 Tests for India, last featured in an ODI against South Africa in November 2006 before falling off the selectors' radar.

He scored 2,753 runs in one-day cricket and 624 runs from 13 Tests.

Kaif rose to prominence after captaining India to their first Under-19 World Cup title in 2000.

He is now a cricket analyst and a popular Hindi commentator.