Thursday, February 02, 2006

HARPER: Commitment and performance key to selection

There is an interview in today's Nation with Kenya's new coach, Roger Harper.
In regards to team selection, he says that he expects selection to the Kenya team will be based purely on the players' performance and that young players will be considered strictly on the basis of their abilities:
" I have not had a chance to asses the players in terms of physical fitness and technic (sic) but it will not be age or any other issue but about the players' performance, commitment and fitness that will determine who will play for Kenya or not."
I like Roger Harper's approach. He does not seem to be put off by pressure to pick players for political reasons such as age etc, but wants a winning side. Excellent. Reading between the lines, I also think that he is saying to the players who have been in the Kenyan side before, that they will only be picked if they are still good enough, and committed enough. No guaranteed places means the players will have to fight it out to get in to the team. This alone is good for Kenyan cricket as it gives the youngsters a chance, and everyone will feel that they have a chance if they can prove their worth. I suspect that this will also mean that there may be a couple of surprise faces (and omissions) from the final squad.
The players should be having a fitness test at Parklands in Nairobi today, after it was postponed yesterday. Harper has sent out a rallying call to the team saying:
"What I would like to see is a positive outlook from the players and commitment to improvement both as players and individuals because this will contribute a great deal to team success,"
One of the most inspiring things to come out of the last World Cup for Kenya was the team spirit, and commitment to a cause. If Harper can inspire the same sort of attitude again, then with the talent that is available, Kenya cricket could have a very good year indeed.

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