Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif announced his retirement from all forms of competitive cricket on Friday (July 13). Having etched his name in the cricket history with a heroic knock of 87* in the Natwest Trophy final of 2002 against England at Lord’s, Kaif chose the very date - 16 years later - to hang up his boots.
The 37-year-old posted an emotional message on his official Twitter account to bid adieu from the game.
"It made sense to do so on July 13. Each of our professional lives are defined by one moment more than any other, 16 years ago today, July 13, 2002 was that moment for me... It seems apt to bid goodbye on this day," Kaif wrote.
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 ???????? pic.twitter.com/HzKZDWgXBo— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) July 13, 2018
India's cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, who are known to voice their opinions on Twitter, recalled their memories from the iconic Natwest final and wished Kaif all the best for his future endeavours.
“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 tweeted.
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. pic.twitter.com/4vMeVKjyfy— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) July 13, 2018
A bit later, Sehwag joined the Master Blaster in conveying a congratulatory message.
“Just like timing your catches to perfection, timed the retirement perfectly @MohammadKaif . 16 years to the day we conquered Lord's and won the NatWest Trophy. Wish you a very happy and satisfying retired life,” Viru wrote.
Kaif will always be remembered as being one of the finest fittest fielders that India has ever produced. During the five-year period in which he was an India regular, it was his electric fielding inside the 30 yard circle, that made him special.
Apart from his Lord's knock, Kaif's century against Zimbabwe in the Champions Trophy 2002 will also remain in memory as he lifted the team from the dumps after the top order collapse.
In his 125 ODI appearances, Kaif aggregated 2753 runs at an average of 32.01, including two hundreds and 17 half-centuries while he scored 624 Test runs in 13 matches at 32.84 with one ton and three fifties.
Kaif always remained a quality player in domestic cricket leading UP for many years. He finished with 10229 first class runs with 19 hundreds across 186 matches.