Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Kenya's Provisional Squad Without Obuya

According to a report in today's Nation, kenya have named a 26 man provisional squad for the three match one-day series against Bangladesh in two weeks time. There are a couple of new faces in the team, and a couple of players who have been brought back in after some time away. There are also a couple of surprise omissions, and not surprisingly, the Nation leads with the biggest of these, Kennedy Obuya. Kenya's long serving wicket keeper was controversially left out against The Netherlands, and it nearly cost us the match. His exclusion again, especially from the provisional squad is mystifying, unless it is for reasons other than purely cricketing ones. After missing out on the Intercontinental Cup match, Obuya was vocal in his dissatisfaction at being left out and threatened to retire from international cricket. Hopefully this has not happened as I feel he has at least two more years to offer Kenya, and there is certainly no one who has shown the ability to take his place. If there is some sort of niggle going on, all the parties involved (however wronged they feel) need to pull their heads in and sort it out. This is no time for division.
Other long term members of the team to miss out are: Martin Suji, who is still injured and won't know until July 27th when he will play again, and Lameck Onyango for whom time to reclaim a spot in the national side may now be running out.
Cricinfo report that the squad announcement comes after some of the leading players criticised Cricket Kenya for not putting in place a proper training program, and also note that Steve Tikolo is away in England for a three week contract with club side Haveriggs. This is certainly not the sort of preparation we need if we are going to get back to competing with the top teams.
A brief run down of the players selected (according to the Nation) is as follows:
Steve Tikolo (Capt). A no brainer - we would be in serious strife without him. It is not good however that he will be in England during the lead up to the series - Cricket Kenya needs to do more to stop top players being tempted away at times like this. Will need some good scores if Kenya are going to compete.
Thomas Odoyo. Again, no surprise. Will open the bowling and hopefully will find good form with the bat.
Tony Suji. I am surprised to see him selected as a batsman if Obuya has been left out. I hope the Suji at 3 experiment is not persisted with. As an all rounder though, he is again a fairly obvious choice due to his experience. Should bat at 7 and be used more with the ball.
Peter Ongondo. Without a doubt, the most consistent Kenyan player this year. Again, an automatic selection, let's just hope he can continue to take wickets.
Collins Obuya. Has done better with the bat recently than with the ball. In some ways, this is good news as there are a couple of upcoming spinners who could take his bowling place, but we need runs. Would be great if he could find form with both.
Jimmy Kamande. Keeps his place due to no one in the A team doing enough to threaten it. Has been far from Kenya's worst player so far this year, and may get another chance.
Josephat Ababu. Didn't really feature in Kenya A's tour to Denmark. A surprise inclusion to my mind, I don't expect him to make the final squad.
Brijal Patel. Performed well with the bat in the Atul Shah Tournament, but disappointing in Denmark. May lose out to a couple of the younger players for a spot.
Nehemiah Odhiambo. Has done enough in the Atul Shah Tournament and in Denmark to be knocking on the door to the senior side. Will benefit from the absence of Martin Suji for a place.
Alfred Luseno. There has been much hype, but not enough delivery for my liking. I feel he needs a longer stint with the A team before he steps up.
Malhar Patel. Showed glimpses of his potential during the tour to Denmark. Didn't make the runs when needed though. I feel he won't make the starting line up for the first match, but may be called on to replace whoever does not deliver.
Tanmay Mishra. Did well against Bangladesh last time, and showed some form in Denmark. Hopefully he will get his first one day fifty and go on from there. Automatic selection.
Rajesh Bhudia. In the running for a bowling spot. Did fairly well against The Netherlands in the Inercontinental Cup and had a good average in the Atul Shah Tournament. Not sure if he is quite ready to step up to the next level yet.
Ashish Karia. Has been underplayed by Kenya so far. Has shown potential, but also failed to deliver. Jury is still out, but he will probably get at least one game - hopefully, he will be given a real chance when that happens.
Alex Obanda. A very surprising selection in place of Kennedy Obuya. Averaged 4.33 from 3 innings in the Atul Shah Tournament. Surely not ready for international duty.
Jadhavji Laxman. One of the most economical bowlers in the Atul Shah competition, also finished strongly in Denmark (if I have my players right). May get a run, but I think the spinners spot will depend who impresses Harper in the nets.
Hiren Varaiya. Another who has shown potential with the ball for Kenya A without setting the World on fire. May have to mature a bit before he gets his chance.
Timothy Muange. I think the player Cricket Kenya are hoping will replace Kennedy Obuya. I feel he is underdone, and about a year away from being ready for a full cap. With Kennedy absent, may well get a premature chance.
Jadhavji Jeshani. A possibility for the opener's spot, but has not really shown his worth while playing for Kenya A, so I don't feel deserves a full cap yet. Should mature into a good player in time.
Darhit Shah. One of the youngsters in the squad. Do not know enough about him to say more.
Rashmi Gami. A well deserved inclusion in the squad after a very good performance for the CCA in the Atul Shah tournament. A shame it was too late for him to go to Denmark. Hopefully will get his chance in at least one match.
Stewart Kayne. Again well deserved place after finishing with most wickets in the Atul Shah event. Can also open the batting, and for this alone should get a chance.
Maurice Ouma. Has had a poor year so far. Has done well for Kenya in the past, and that and his potential are probably what is keeping him in the squad. Needs to show a lot of improvement in form to warrant a place in the final team.
Hitesh Modi. Great to see him named in the squad. I'm assuming this means he is available and can get out from England. Did well last series against Bangladesh, but will be looking to convert his starts into bigger scores. Automatic selection.
Amit Bhudia. Deserves a place in the squad on his only previous outing for Kenya in the Intercontinental Cup. Not having a great year so far, so may play a stand in role if someone else doesn't perform. (Not listed as being in the squad by cricinfo).
Ragheb Aga. Great news to see him back in the squad. Will certainly strengthen Kenya's seam options. Could even open the bowling with Odoyo. (Not listed as being in the squad by cricinfo).
There are then 3 players listed as being in the squad by cricinfo, but not in the nation:
Ali Sheikh. Don't know anything about him.
Elijah Otieno. Ditto. If he is brother to the Obuya players, at least comes with a good pedigree.
David Obuya. Had a chance earlier in the year, and is only averaging 15 at a strike rate of 44 in ODIs so far. Hardly the figures to recommend reselection.

No comments: