Former international cricketer Mohd Kaif, who also captained Uttar Pradesh, was on Monday named the first skipper of the Chhattisgarh State Cricket Sangh (CSCS) which would be playing in the Ranji Trophy for the first time in the coming domestic season.
Kaif’s agility and ability for hard work got him the job. A livewire on the field in his prime, he is still capable of surprising many young cricketers in the domestic circuit, diving full stretch to stop the ball and even completing three runs.
“It’s a great feeling to be the captain of CSCS and I hope that I would be able to justify the responsibility,” Kaif told HT soon after being appointed skipper at Raipur on Monday.
“I know that I would always be known as the first captain in the history of Chhattisgarh cricket. I am thankful to the CSCS bosses who have given me the opportunity to share my experience with the youngsters of Chhattisgarh,” he said.
Kaif’s entry into Chhattisgarh cricket was anchored by former Mumbai wicket-keeper Sulakshan Kulkarni, who was appointed coach last month. “He (Sullakshan) has been a great support to me,” said the Allahabad pro best remembered for his match-winning knock of 87 in the NatWest Trophy against England at Lord’s in 2002.
“In 2006, I led a young (UP) side to win the Ranji Trophy. Even when I played for Andhra Pradesh in the last couple of seasons, I was enjoying my game with a young side. Now, I not only have to lead young cricketers of Chhattisgarh, but also guide them to make a big impact in domestic cricket.”
Kaif, who played for India in 13 Tests and 125 one-day internationals, remains the most successful captain for Uttar Pradesh leading the state to its maiden Ranji Trophy title win in 2006. He also took the UP team to the final of the Ranji Trophy on two other occasions.
He also performed creditably for Andhra Pradesh, leading the side to the Elite Group during the 2014-15 season. His 9974 runs at an average of 39.89 in 177 first class matches speak volumes of his calibre as a middle-order batsman.
“I am yet to meet the members of the team, but I am looking for a good beginning for the side this season. Will meet the boys tomorrow morning for a two-week camp,” said Kaif.