Thursday, August 10, 2006
It has been very rare in recent times to see cricket take the leading story in any of the countries dailies. That Kenya's team would be selected today has done so in today's Nation is a big step forward and hopefully a sign of things to come. According to this article on Tiger Cricket, over 20 reporters and journalists turned out to watch the Bangladesh training session at Ruaraka. Finally, it seems that cricket is beginning to be taken a bit more seriously by the Kenyan media, and that is fantastic news for Kenyan cricket. It will mean more people reading and learning about the game, and hopefully that will turn itself into more fans at matches and players taking up the game next season.
Of course for the game to really take off, the national team needs to be seen to perform well. Victories in the two ODIs in Canada will have raised expectations, especially among those who are fairly new to following the game and do not yet understand its heirachy. Many of them will expect a winning series against Bangladesh which, as those who understand more about the game know, is a big ask. Still, with the right team selected, it is possible that we could give the visitors some trouble, so whom are the selectors likely to go with?
Obvious selections after the tour to Canada are:
Steve Tikolo. Captain and talisman. a good series from him will be vital if we are to be competetive.
Thomas Odoyo. V.capt. not at his best at the moment, but still easily our top choice opening bowler. An automatic choice along with Peter Ongondo. Hopefully the latter can continue to improve and take wickets.
Tanmay Mishra. Developing well and will be a regular starter for quite some time I would think.
Nehemiah Odhiambo. Canada were an easier side to bowl to than Bangladesh will be, but he showed more than enough to warrant selection.
Hiren Variaya. Bowled beautifully in Canada on debut. A sterner test against the Tigers, but could well give them some trouble on his home turf.
Collins Obuya. Really improving as a batsman and enjoyed his two innings against Bangladesh previously.
Jimmy Kamande, His 68 in the first ODI was marred by his duck in the second, but is probably still enough to warrant a place.
Hitesh Modi. Experienced and due for a big score for Kenya. enjoys playing Bangladesh.
This leaves the two openers spots to fill, again a problem for the selectors. Kennedy Otieno will probably be retained, and after their stand of 46 for the first wicket in the last ODI, the selectors may be tempted to keep Patel in there as well. A difficult choice as there are not many options to replace him with. Muange was not given a chance in Canada despite Patel failing in the first ODI, so hardly likely to be picked this time around. Ouma looks like he may be getting back into form in the NPCA comp, but was terrorised by Bangladesh last time, and it would likely do irreparable damage to his confidence should the same happen again. It will be an interesting choice for the selectors and good luck to whoever they select. It has been a long time since the whole Kenyan team fired, but maybe with stability and home ground advantage, this could be the series.
Those of you who are in Nairobi and haven't yet booked your tickets, get a move on and be there this weekend at Nairobi Gymkhana to support the team. It could make all the difference.
Posted by Chemosit at 10:35 am