Kaif thanks Dravid for his epic knock in Natwest trophy final
Talking about his memorable match-winning knock in the 2002 Natwest Trophy final, Kaif said the credit for me getting an opportunity to play in that series goes to Rahul Dravid because he agreed to keep wickets. Dravid kept wickets for India in 72 ODIs and effected 86 dismissals (72 catches, 14 stumpings).
"Credit goes to Rahul Dravid because I got an opportunity to make it to the playing XI only when he put on the wicketkeeping gloves. Him performing duties behind the stumps meant a youngster like me could bat at No. 7," said Kaif.
How Dravid started wicketkeeping for India
Dravid - who wasn't a full-time wicketkeeper - agreed to the job to accomodate for an extra batsman in the side. Dravid revealed that he used to keep the wickets during his Under-16 days but focussed on his batting later on.
However, captain Sourav Ganguly persuaded him to take up wicketkeeper's role after the Bengal cricketer was handed over the reins of the team in 2000.
"Sourav convinced me to take up the wicketkeeping gloves and perform the duty so that we can accommodate an extra batsman in the side. I wasn't ready for it because the last time I had wicket kept was when I was 15-16. Actually I was a wicketkeeper till the age of 15-16 and I skipped it later on. But you know how Sourav is, he finally managed to convince me."
How Dravid perfected the art of wicketkeeping
Talking how he perfected the art of wicketkeeping Dravid said, "As I was already good with my hands it was easy for me to catch the ball, but I was very bad with my feet movement and wicketkeeping involves a lot of it. Our new coach John Wright had a friend who was a wicket-keeping coach so he arranged for a training session in England ahead of the Natwest Series in 2002 - which involved India, England, and Sri Lanka. That helped me improve my game but I was still not very good at collecting the ball at the leg stumps and Anil (Kumble) and Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) were never happy."
Dhoni learnt from Dravid: Kaif
It was during the chat show when Kaif revealed that even Dhoni - who made his ODI debut in 2005 - learnt a few tricks of the trade from Dravid.
Dhoni's wicketkeeping skills weren't too good at the start of his international career and initially it was his explosive batting that earned him his India cap.