|World Cricket League Division 1: Nairobi, January-February 2007|
Kenya coming back to world stage?
ICC Media Release
There is a feeling within the wider cricket community that the game in Kenya is moving in the right direction. Following a hugely successful ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 when the national side got to the semi-final, Kenyan cricket hit a slump but the authorities there now say they are ready to make it back to the big time.
To illustrate that, Cricket Kenya was very keen to put its hand up to host the inaugural ICC World Cricket League Division 1 (WCL Div. 1), which runs in Nairobi from 30 January to 7 February.
“We have the facilities, we have the expertise and we have the manpower,” said chairman of Cricket Kenya Samir Inamdar.
“This is an enormous opportunity to announce to the world that we are ready to host an event like this again. By running a good tournament we will showcase Kenyan cricket and put it back in the news for all the right reasons,” he said.
“We are moving forward here at Cricket Kenya and this tournament is very much part of that process,” he added.
Of course, even with sound administration, it is performances on the field that usually do the talking and there are signs that the on-field situation is also heading in the right direction.
For the last few years, followers of Kenyan cricket have been pondering the question of what will happen when veteran batsman Steve Tikolo, consistently one of the best players outside of the ICC Full Members, and other senior players hang up their boots.
Well, while Tikolo is Kenya captain and clearly still a very important part of the line-up, the indications are that the younger players coming through will be able to carry on his mantle when he finally does bring the curtain down on a wonderful international career.
Seam bowler Nehemiah Odhiambo has impressed lately, as has middle-order batsman Tanmay Mishra and spinner Hiren Varaiya. The Kenyans also welcome back Ravi Shah to the fold after a two-year break through injury.
The 34 year-old did well in his comeback game against Scotland in Mombasa this week, scoring 54, and he could well be the answer to Kenya’s problems at the top of the order.
Roger Harper’s side has struggled with consistency in positions one, two and three over the recent past and so the coach is likely to be glad to see Shah in such good touch so soon after such a long lay-off.
Put proven quality players like Tony Suji, Thomas Odoyo and Collins Obuya into the mix and this is potentially a very formidable outfit.
Kenya began its countdown to the ICC Cricket World Cup this week, kicking off an ODI tri-series in Mombasa with a resounding 190-run victory. Today, it takes on Canada at the same venue in the second of its four matches in the series.
Then it will be on to Nairobi for the WCL Div. 1 where it will be one of the favourites to become the first team to take the title.
“The players are really focused and seem to be in good form so we have high hopes in the tournament,” said Inamdar. “We are just looking forward now to a wonderful event,” he said.
Kenya (WCL Div. 1 squad): Steve Tikolo (captain), Thomas Odoyo, Ravi Shah, Tanmay Mishra, Collins Obuya, Peter Ongondo, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Maurice Ouma, Malhar Patel, Hiren Varaiya, David Obuya, Rajesh Bhudia, Jimmy Kamande, Tony Suji, Lameck Onyango.