Mar 152014
Kaif seeks support from Sachin, Ganguly for his election campaign

Kaif is confident that he would receive his former teammates’ blessing in his political campaign with Congress

Kaif seeks support from Sachin, Ganguly for his election campaign (© AP)


Allahabad: Former Test cricketer and Congress’ Lok Sabha candidate from Phulpur Mohommadd Kaif on Saturday said he has “received the blessings” of legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Virendar Sehwag whom he expected to help him in his campaign trail.

The cricketer-turned-politician also rued about the lack of development in Uttar Pradesh, especially in the Allahabad region while addressing a press conference Saturday, a week after getting the Congress ticket from the Phulpur constituency.

“Cricket gave me the opportunity to travel to various parts of the country.

“Whenever I toured Maharashtra or the southern states, I felt the contrast with UP in terms of development in general including lack of adequate sporting infrastructure here,” he said.

“I used to feel impelled to do something for my home state, particularly for my home town of Allahabad, which has a huge treasure trove of raw sporting talent which remains untapped for want of good coaching and training facilities.

“But, I used to be clueless as to how to do that.

“Now I feel I have a platform from which I can serve my people,” he added.

Kaif expressed confidence that he would work his way up in politics in keeping with his batting style which kept the scoreboard ticking with ones and twos despite lack of flamboyant boundaries and sixes.

He claimed that he has “received the blessings” of legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Virendar Sehwag whom he expected to help him in his campaign trail.

“I have spoken to and received the good wishes of many of my seniors like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh and Virendar Sehwag.

“They have assured me that they would be here to support me during the campaign whenever it is possible for them. I am still in the process of contacting other cricketers I have played with and they may help me in electioneering too”.

Kaif said he felt “very strongly” that “in the past 25 years, when the Congress has been out of power in the state (UP) and during the period the party has also suffered defeat after defeat from Phulpur, the state in general and the Parliamentary constituency in particular have suffered stagnation”.

He said that politics is a full time job.

“I have entered politics knowing fully well that it is a full-time job,” Kaif said and when asked whether he implied that he planned to retire from the Ranji-level cricket as well as the IPL, he said, “a decision will be taken depending upon how circumstances unfold”.

To a query about his rather short international cricketing career, the 33-year-old said, “I feel whatever I have got was by the grace of God and by virtue of the love of my fellow Allahabadis besides, of course, the support of the entire country. I feel satisfied and there is no gila-shikva (complains)”.

Fondly recalling his first meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi “who had come to Karachi to watch a match against Pakistan in which I also played”, Kaif said, “I was nevertheless surprised when I got the offer (for contesting elections).

Asked how confident he felt about his prospects given the fact that the Congress has faced defeat here in the last seven Lok Sabha elections and also the generally perceived anti-incumbency which is likely to adversely affect the party, Kaif said, “People might recall that as a cricketer I was workman-like and not flamboyant.

“I did not hit many boundaries or sixes but used to keep the scoreboard ticking with quick singles and twos. I hope to work my way up in politics as well”.

Aug 312013
Cricket News: Can't compare "shirt twirling" celebrations to England's urine-gate: Ganguly

Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has reacted sharply to suggestions in some sections of the media which compared his ‘shirt twirling’ celebrations to England’s ‘urine-gate’.

Ganguly, however, also added that authorities must desist from the urge to punish the involved players. ECB and English players issued a guarded apology without going into the specifics of their Ashes winning celebrations. English media has been trying to downplay the incident in atypical fashion while also throwing a few barbs at the Australian media, who were mostly the eyewitness to the ‘urine-gate’. While some former players have mentioned the incident as ‘disrespectful, crass and arrogant’ Ganguly sought to side with the English view. 

They are no more school-going children that they should be punished as a measure of reformation.” Ganguly said, adding that “No doubt, England were a better side than Australia but they crossed their limits while celebrating the Ashes triumph. I just read it in the papers, it was nothing but hilarious. There is nothing wrong to celebrate but you should not get carried away. KPs (Kevin Pietersen and others) are matured enough, they would not be punished.

He however reacted sharply to some sections of English media trying to compare the ‘shirt twirling’ celebrations by Ganguly himself upon winning the high-intensity Natwest Trophy 2002 final. At the time, many English players and newspapers took dim view of such a brazen act at the home of cricket itself, the Lord’s balcony. Ganguly however was pretty clear that he did not disrespect cricket, it’s equipments or the game itself. He added with a wry smile that it was sweet payback for Andrew Flintoff’s similar celebrations in India a few months earlier and nothing more. 

We did not cross our limits after winning the Natwest final at the Lord’s. It was no different at the Wanderers; in Pakistan, we could not do much because of high security alert. But our celebration was confined to the dressing room, never on the field. Those things cannot be compared with what the English players did,”

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