Kanpur: Ending his 16-year-long association with Uttar Pradesh, Mohammad Kaif has decided to lead Andhra Pradesh in the upcoming Ranji season after striking a two-year deal with the state association (ACA).
The Allahabad-born player has accumulated 9277 runs, taken 143 catches and picked 20 wickets in his first-class career.
"It's end of the road for me at Uttar Pradesh. Now we should give a chance to young players from the state. When players like Suresh Raina, Praveen Kumar and Piyush Chawla joined the UP team, we helped them learn the ropes of international cricket.
"Now it's time that we help youngsters from other states (Andhra Pradesh) move to the next level," Kaif, who now stays in his Delhi-based home, told PTI Bhasha.
A terrific fielder and a solid middle-order batsman, Kaif, who represented India in 13 Tests and 125 one-day internationals, will kickstart his association from August 1.
Kaif, who shot to fame after a match-winning 87 not out and a historic partnership with Yuvraj Singh in the Natwest final against England in 2002, said that his move was long due after being in constant touch with the Andhra Pradesh Cricket Association (ACA) officials.
"ACA secretary Ganga Raju and senior official SSK Prasad have been in constant touch with me for over months regarding mentoring their state and many junior sides. They wanted me to hone talent in the state and finally I have agreed for a two-year deal," said Kaif, who also led the India Under-19 side to World Cup triumph in 2000.
Kaif, 33, said that he is not ending his association with UP but will now certainly have to spend a lot of time in Andhra.