|World Cricket League Division 1: Nairobi, January-February 2007|
Kenya quietly confident
Kenya's coach and captain appeared in a forthright mood as they met the press today on the eve of Kenya's first match in the WCL tomorrow. The hosts take on Bermuda at Nairobi Jafferys in the tournament opener, which has been brought forward a day - Tuedsay being a muslim holiday thus rendering the ground unavailable then.
Both coach Roger Harper and captain Steve Tikolo were keen to stress the importance of doing the basics right for Kenya and on taking the WCL one match at a time. Kenya, who come off winning the tri-series in Mombasa, slipped up in the last game against Canada and the mood in the Kenyan camp is one of focus before tomorrow's match. Several times Harper mentioned that the team were taking each match at a time and that if the hosts are able to do the basics right, results should take care of themselves. He believes that any of the teams in the tournament are capable of taking the trophy home and said that Kenya would need to be at their best against every team if the goal of winning the title and a spot in the 20-20 World Cup is to be realised.
Despite Kenya's 3-0 win over Bermuda in November, Tikolo was also more concerned about Kenya doing their own thing right than worrying about the opposition. He expressed confidence in the way the team were playing and noted the difference Ravindu Shah makes to the top order. After resting for the game against Canada, vice-captain Thomas Odoyo also returns and all fifteen players in the squad are fit and ready to go. Kenya will wait until the last moment before announcing the starting eleven, though it is likely to be the same as the one that beat Scotland in Mombasa.
Both Harper and Tikolo were keen to mention the effect Kenya's younger players have made to the squad. Harper noted that those selected had made places in the team their own and said their presence made a big difference to the spirit of the squad. He expects the effect of seeing these players coming through and performing at national level will be an inspiration to other young players competing in the domestic leagues. Tikolo said the younger players snapping at the heels of the senior team members is also a great boost to the overall team as it keeps up the intensity and ensures that the experienced players cannot afford to slack off.
Where the Kenyans appeared quiet and focussed, the Bermudans were clearly enjoying their stay in Nairobi. They have not had the best of warm ups for the tournament, but coach Gus Logie was still in an upbeat mood. Happy with several leading players coming into form against Tanzania, he was keen to focus on the positives rather than the negatives of the lead up. Still aware that there is room for improvement, he expressed confidence that the team would put on a good show and trouble Kenya tomorrow. Captain, Irvine Romaine, was also quick to note that Bermuda did not feel threatened by Kenya and were ready to take on anyone. Bermuda feel they have made progress in dominating the America's and intend to use the WCL as the beginning of doing the same in Associate cricket. Logie summed up their approach to the tournament with his closing comment: "Looking at the trophy, it looks like their is a little triangle on it: A Bermuda Triangle." Tomorrow is the first step in making that a reality, but Bermuda will have to deal with a Kenyan side that will be keen to show that their last game against Canada was an exception.