Fielded from Phulpur as the Congress candidate for the Lok Sabha elections, cricketer Mohammed Kaif on Saturday said politics is like a second innings for him and he would give equal attention to both his game and politics.
"I was born and brought up in Allahabad. I have played cricket in the streets of this city. People looked at me with pride when I played for India. I am hopeful that they will support me," Kaif told PTI over phone.
"After cricket, politics is like a second innings for me. I hope to be as successful in politics as I was in cricket," he said.
Asked if he would now retire from cricket, Kaif dismissed the idea and said he would give equal attention to both politics and his game.
"I am in form now. I have played two good innings scoring 80 and 70 in Jaipur only a few days ago," he said. When asked if he had asked for a poll ticket, he denied, and said he got a call informing him about his selection as a Congress candidate, to which he had agreed.
Kaif, however, refused to reveal the identity of the caller.
"People feel that politics is dirty. So I thought, I will enter politics and show people that work is also being done in politics," he said.
Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association expressed happiness and surprise at Kaif's selection as a poll candidate. "I am not able to believe that Kaif is contesting polls," UPCA general manager Rohit Talwar said, adding that if Kaif became an MP it would be good for the game.
Kaif is currently a member of the Uttar Pradesh Ranji cricket team. He has represented India in many one-dayers and some Test matches, and is notable for his performance against England in the 2002 NatWest series.
Kaif has also led the under-19 Indian team to World Cup victory in 2000.