He made it to the national team on the strength of his performances at the Under-19 level, where he captained the India national under-19 cricket team to victory in the Under-19 World Cup in 2000. He was regarded as
one of the best fielders in the Indian cricket team owing to his tremendous athletic and throwing skills.
His most famous feat was helping India chase down 326 with 87* (off 75 balls) in the 2002 NatWest Series Final. The effort earned him his first Man of the Match award.
He was one of the best fielders in the Indian cricket team, along with Yuvraj Singh. Kaif also has an excellent track record of direct hits to the stump from the cover position, notable as only one stump would be fully visible. Kaif has been associated with the IPL in different capacities as coach and player.