Sunday, June 18, 2006

Confirmation of A side to tour Denmark

Cricket Kenya have confirmed the A squad that will be touring Denmark. Unfortunately, there seems to be no space for either of the promising spinners from the coast. This could be due to a variety of reasons, not least that time was very limited in which to get visas organised and change travel arrangements. Hopefully they will get their chance to at least train with the national squad in the lead up to the Bangladesh matches.
Brijal Patel is retained as captain, no surprise after his almost solo efforts with the bat in Mombasa. Kenya will be looking for him to lead from the front again and show his younger teammates what is required. He is joined by:
Nehemiah Odhiambo Ngoche, who will be looking to increase his wicket tally and match experience. On the whole, he bowled well in the Atul Shah tournament, and should travel with confidence. His bowling partners will be Alfred Luseno, Rajesh Bhudia, Hiren Variaya, Jadavji Lakshman Bhimji and Ashish Karia. Most have performed credibly so far this year, and in terms of the future, at least the bowling spots will have plenty of players competing for places. At least one of the bowlers on tour, possibly more will be required to make the step up to the national team soon, possibly even against Bangladesh. This will be a great opportunity for someone to put their hand up for such an honour.
So far, the area that has been letting Kenya down at all levels has been the batting. This was especially noticeable in the Atul Shah Tournament when most batsmen struggled, especially against spin. Tanmay Mishra, who played well against Bangladesh needs to use this tour to get back into form before he meets them again next month. Timothy Muange, like Brijal Patel, came out of the Atul Shah Tournament with some dignity intact. He had two decent starts, and needs now to take his performance up to the next level. Jadavji Jeshani showed a glimpse of why the selectors chose him in Kenya A's first match, then got progressively worse as the tournament wore on, while Malhar Patel and Alex Obanda were frankly very disappointing. These three players retain their places in the side, but one really feels it is time they stepped up and repaid the selectors faith. Hopefully this tour will give them the platform to do just that and rekindle some confidence. Hafeez Manji and Amit Bhudia (already in Denmark) round out the players who will take on the Danes. For Amit, this will be a chance to use his local knowledge to advantage and show the Kenyan selectors that he is worth more than just a place in the A team. He has not had the best of starts to the season so far, but all that will be forgotten if he performs well in the coming matches. Hafeez is one of the junior members of the squad - I believe he is still at school, but he has already shown some of his potential in domestic games. This will be a great chance for him to really showcase his talent without pressure, as he still has plenty of time on his side. Alfred Njuguna travels as Coach, while Subhash Devani as Manager completes the contingent.

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