He may not be the most attractive of stroke players that the Indian team possesses, but he adds up enormous value to the side with his quicksilver fielding coupled with cool-headed batting in the lower middle order. He came into reckoning when he captained the Indian team to an Under19 World Cup title in Sri Lanka. No guesses required, because we are talking about none other than the energetic Mohammad Kaif. He is one of the few players from Uttar Pradesh who could have made it to this highest level though there are a few names such as Suresh Raina, Praveen Gupta, R.P.Singh who have donned the Indian colours at the Under19 level.
Mohammad Kaif was thought of as a future Indian captain and has been under the National Cricket Academy drills for sometime. He was thrown into the nuances of Test Cricket at an early age of 20 when he had to face the Protean attack at Bangalore. Kaif’s innings was more of occupying the crease rather than scoring runs and was soon shown the EXIT door from Test Cricket.
Kaif found a place in the One-day squad during the home series against England and it was a very impressive beginning. A couple of good match winning cameos followed for the young lad. He was always been a magnificent fielder with Kaif making the all-important position of Covers all his own. His running between the wickets is simply brilliant. With cheeky singles to the galloping for 2s and 3s, Kaif has set a new benchmark for the fitness and stamina level in the Indian team. His batting exploits came in true light when he partnered Yuvraj to chase that unbelievable 326 at Lords. He immediately followed that up with his maiden hundred against Zimbabwe at Colombo. That hundred was the difference between India being knocked out of the ICC Knockout and India being the joint winner of the Tournament. Since then, Kaif has been granted a secure place in the lower middle order and he also made it to the world cup. He didn’t have any big scores but everyone remembers his crucial 3rd wicket partnership with Sachin Tendulkar against Pakistan.
Kaif earned a county stint with Derbyshire but like his mate Yuvraj Singh who played for Yorkshire, didn’t make many big scores. Experience is what this young lad from U.P had gained. Kaif had a series of highs and lows with the bat but has often covered that up with his brilliance in the field. Kaif most often bats in the uncomfortable order of No.6 or No.7 and to be fair with him, not many batsmen at that position can score consistently enough. So be it with Kaif!!! However, the man certainly has the temperament to play best against the best under trying circumstances. For me he is a FUTURE INDIAN SKIPPER.