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‘I knew exactly what he wanted’: Warnie book extract exposes World Cup winger


Warnie always knew.

He knew Travis Head was destined to win big games of cricket for Australia as far back as 2016, and he knew Mohammad Kaif was a pelican of the highest order.

Former Indian opening batter Kaif has been one of his country’s most outspoken analysts in the wake of Australia’s sensational World Cup win in the subcontinent.

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He made headlines after Australia’s six-wicket win in the World Cup Final when he continued to argue India was the best team in the tournament.

The 42-year-old, who played 13 Tests and 125 ODIs over a six-year international career, was widely ridiculed – but it’s taken an anecdote from a Shane Warne book to put him forever in his place.

Shane Warne speaks to Mohammed Kaif during Australia’s tour of India in 2004.Source: News Corp Australia

An extract that lifts the lid on Kaif’s entitled attitude from Warne’s 2018 autobiography is going viral on social media.

Warne is detailing his early days in the IPL with the Rajasthan Royals, a team he captained to the title in the competition’s first season with Kaif batting in the middle order.

“It got interesting because the Royals philosophy was to give young kids a go. The biggest name Indian player we’d signed was Mohammad Kaif – hardly Sachin Tendulkar or MS Dhoni,” Warne wrote.

“What people didn’t understand was: why pay a massive $US650,000 for Mohammad Kaif? It was the auction process. If you missed out on two or three batsmen you wanted, you might get left with one you didn’t want so much, but have to buy him because there was a gap in your team to fill. You could be lucky or unlucky, pay under or over, depending on timing, demand and the vacancy that needed filling. It was what made the auction so exciting.

Warnie’s go another one. Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images
Kaif in action for India. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“It was Mohammad Kaif who, unknowingly, brought our attention to something that needed fixing straight away. When we checked into the hotel as the Rajasthan Royals group, everyone got their room key and disappeared. Minutes later, while I was chatting with the owners in reception, I noticed Kaif go to the front desk and say, ‘I am Kaif?’ ‘Yes,’ said the receptionist. ‘How can we help?’ ‘I am Kaif.’

“I went over. ‘Everything alright, mate?’ I asked. ‘Yes, I am Kaif?’

“‘I think they know who you are, mate, what do you mean? What are you looking for?’ ‘I have got a little room like everyone else.’

“I said, ‘Right, okay. Do you want to upgrade yourself or something?’ ‘Yes, I’m Kaif.’ I knew exactly what he wanted: ‘I am a senior, an Indian international player, so I get a bigger room.’ Without trying to be funny, mate,’ I said, ‘everyone gets the same room. I’m the only one with a big room because I have to meet with people?’ ‘Oh. And off he walked.”

Warnie’s statue overlooking the trophy. Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images for Cricket AustraliaSource: Getty Images

AAP’s Oliver Caffrey shared the extract, writing: “Who knew this guy would be struggling to get a grip on reality”.

3AW guest presenter and former AAP reporter Jamie Duncan added: “So, India had the moral victory in this tournament after the Poms’ moral victory in the Ashes? Have I got that right?”

The swipe comes after Kaif said on Star Sports: “I can never accept that the best team has won the World Cup. The Indian team is the best team on paper.

“Congratulations to Australia but I am not ready to accept that the best team won the World Cup.

“This Indian team has been the best side. They are the best team on paper. They would win so many times playing against the same Australian team, even though they lost today. It was one of those bad day, this happens sometimes.”

Shane Warne, take a bow. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

David Warner hit back, saying: “I like MK (Kaif), issue is it does not matter what’s on paper. At the end of the day you need to perform when it matters. That’s why they call it a final. That’s the day that counts and it can go either way, that’s sports. 2027 here we come.”

Kaif responded: “Facts: It was Australia’s day in final, they won, they are World Cup winners. More facts: India comprehensively won 10 games, they lost 11th, they had the best bowlers and batters. They were the tournament’s best team. Both facts, on paper and on field. Relax Australia.”

This time around Australia got support from England cricket great Michael Vaughan, who had a cheeky reply in response to Kaif’s claim that India was the tournament’s “best team”.

“Usually the tournaments best team lift the trophy at the end of the event,” Vaughan wrote.

Kaif was not the only one downplaying Australia’s achievement, with former Indian Test batter Sanjay Manjrekar also claiming the toss call put India at a disadvantage.

Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has since come out and given full credit to Australia’s tactics in the final, while admitting they “deceived” him with their decision to bowl first.



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