Whenever the name of Mohammad Kaif comes into the forefront, the individual innings of 87 which he played in the finale of the 2002 Natwest Trophy under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly, is still fresh in the memories of every Indian supporter.

It was a stunning knock. Alongside Yuvraj Singh, Kaif staged a remarkable comeback for India. Chasing a daunting score of 326 to win, they were reduced to 146 for five. It was brilliant batting by the duo which eventually handed India a special victory.

Kaif retired from international cricket a month ago on the anniversary of this special win at Lord’s. He is also regarded as one of the finest fielders India has ever produced. He was like a live wire in the field and took some sensational catches during his career.

Sourav Ganguly, Mohammad Kaif
Sourav Ganguly proved to be a vanguard for Indian cricket. (Credits – PTI)

After playing 13 years of cricket, he finally retired from all forms of cricket a month ago.

During an interview with the National, Kaif revealed different aspects of his game. He has played under several captains including the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ganguly, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid.

However, for him, Ganguly is the No. 1 captain according to him.

Mohammad Kaif, India
Mohammad Kaif recalls some of his memories with the Indian team. (Image Courtesy: Getty Images)

“For me, Ganguly is number one. He had some tough years when he became captain. When he took over, the Indian team was going through a rough patch. He had to rebuild the team with coach John Wright. Ganguly had a different set of challenges, and he did a great job backing youngsters, including me,” Kaif revealed.

 

Of course, he had the help of seniors like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, and Javagal Srinath. He got the balance right for the team with a mix of seniors and youths. He backed the youngsters. Ganguly laid the foundation and then MS Dhoni took over,” he said.

Mohammad Kaif further praised former Indian coach Greg Chappell for giving him good tips on his batting.

However, Kaif said that Chappell lacked the man management skills which didn’t work for him. He also failed to understand the mindset of the Indian players.

“He was very good. His batting tips were brilliant. When it came to talking about batting, he was outstanding. He had brilliant ideas, he could talk about various match situations, and he could connect with a batsman’s mind. But when it came to man management, he was lacking. And also, he failed to understand the Indian system, Indian culture. He also failed to understand the background of the Indian players, where they came from. That went against him. Overall, I enjoyed his batting tips,” Kaif added.

Sourav Ganguly led India in a spectacular way as a team leader during his tenure.