Mohammad Kaif, a prominent figure in Indian cricket, rose to fame through his outstanding performance in the 2022 NatWest Series final against England. His unbeaten knock of 87 runs off 75 balls played a crucial role in India’s successful chase of 326 runs. Kaif’s remarkable display earned him the well-deserved title of Man of the Match.
In a recent interview with DD India, Kaif was asked about the best captain he had played under, to which he promptly responded with Sourav Ganguly. He recalled Ganguly’s encouragement, saying, “I would say Sourav Ganguly. I remember he told me that I should go out there and give my best shot and that he is there to back me, he is there to support me. That’s a big comment. As a young guy, if you have a captain like Sourav Ganguly, you get emboldened while playing for India.”
Kaif further praised Ganguly’s leadership skills, emphasizing his ability to lead from the front and make astute player selections. “Sourav Ganguly was amazing, he was fantastic. Captaincy means you need to be a leader – lead from the front, pick the right players and back them. Ganguly built the team,” Kaif added with admiration.
A brilliant cricket career
During his career, Kaif played 83 ODIs under Ganguly’s captaincy out of his total of 125 matches. In Test cricket, he featured in 13 games, scoring 624 runs, including a century and three fifties. In ODIs, Kaif amassed 2753 runs, comprising of two centuries and 17 half-centuries.
Ganguly’s captaincy record was also notable, leading India in 49 Tests and 146 ODIs. Under his guidance, the team achieved significant milestones such as winning the 2002 Champions Trophy and finishing as runners-up in the 2003 World Cup. Ganguly’s own batting achievements were remarkable as well, accumulating 11,363 runs in ODIs, ranking ninth for the most runs scored in the format. He became the third player to cross the 10,000-run mark in ODIs after Sachin Tendulkar and Inzamam Ul Haq. Notably, Ganguly holds the record for the highest individual score (183) by an Indian batsman in the ODI World Cup.
The partnership between Kaif and Ganguly not only yielded successful results for the Indian team but also provided Kaif with the confidence and support needed to excel in his role. Their synergy on the field became a source of inspiration for young cricketers and left a lasting impact on Indian cricket history.