Indian middle-order batsman Mohammad Kaif has been appointed as assistant coach of the Gujarat Lions for the 2017 season of the Indian Premier League. He will work alongside Head Coach of the franchise Brad Hodge in the tenth edition which begins on 5 April 2017.
Kaif who captains the Chhattisgarh side in the Ranji Trophy, also played the role of a mentor for the side along with coach Sulakshan Kulkarni. His side didn’t have a great tournament as they ended up at 9th position in the Group C table.
Reportedly, Kaif was also in-line to be named as the coach of Afghanistan but lost out to Lalchand Rajput. Considered as one of the best all-time fielders in India, he was in the final list along with West Indies’ Corey Collymore, Pakistan’s Mohammad Yousuf and South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs.
Kaif has played for Rajasthan Royals, Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. In 29 matches, he has scored 259 runs at a strike rate of 103.6. Kaif didn’t play T20s for India but was mainstay of the ODI side from 2002-2006.
While speaking about his appointment, Kaif said, “I am looking forward to my new role as an Assistant Coach in the team”. He added, “It will be a great opportunity to work with a dynamic owner like Keshav Bansal and with an extremely talented players with likes of Suresh Raina, Ravinder Jadeja, Bravo etc.”
Owner of Gujarat Lions, Keshav Bansal said, “Kaif is a great resource for our team, who has valuable experience and in-depth knowledge of the sport. The experience that he carries of the game, made us realise that he needs to be given larger roles as it will prove beneficial in our efforts to develop the game. I am confident that our team will benefit immensely from his guidance and mentorship”.