Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Kenyans dominate associate rankings

The December rankings for non-test teams have just been released by Cricket Europe and it is good to see Kenya topping all of the lists. After winning the ODI series 3-0 against Bermuda, the national team not only keep the number one spot, but extend their lead at the top of both the overall team rankings and the High Performance Program (HPP) Team Rankings. With critics and detractors from certain circles still making noises about Kenya going backwards, it is good to see the team's improvement and dominance in Associate cricket getting the recognition it truly deserves. True, Scotland and Ireland are having a break at the moment, so have not had any opportunity to close the gap, but this will change soon enough when Scotland play Bangladesh and then the tri series in January (Kenya-Scotland-Canada) and the WCL come around. I both hope for and expect Kenya to still be sitting at the top of both tables after those events.
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The Official ICC ranking does not take into account teams not on the rankings list, so Kenya does not get the opportunity to improve that standing until the World Cup warm-up match against the Windies in March. The less said about this rankings system the better, although should they include Kenya on the list of Associate teams, we would again be clear leaders.
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While the team's consolidation of it's position is reassuring, the individual player rankings are also worthy of note. Steve Tikolo, previously ranked 22nd on the Cricket Europe Batting rankings takes his true position at number 1 on the back of his masterly display against Bermuda. He also rises to 58th on the ICC top 100 batsmen list with 503 points. Great to see the best batsman outside Test cricket in his rightful spot, lets hope he can continue that dominance come January and beyond.
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Tanmay Mishra also climbs on both lists, jumping 13 places to 8th on the Cricket Europe rankings, while coming in at a career best of 77th on the ICC list with 432 points. This places him as the second highest ranked Kenyan on both lists, a great achievement in his first real year as an international. Other Kenyan batsmen to feature are Hitesh Modi and Thomas Odoyo who come in at equal 23rd on Cricket Europe. Odoyo also makes the ICC list in 83rd place with 401 points. Modi and Kennedy Obuya both slip off the ICC top 100.
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If Kenya's batsmen look good, they are outshone quite easily by the bowlers, 3 of whom are in the top 5 of Cricket Europe's bowler rankings. Top of the list is Thomas Odoyo, who overtakes teammate Peter Ongondo. Odoyo's move comes after career best bowling figures against Bermuda and is matched by a career high 552 points on the ICC top 100 bowling list which puts him at 43th position overall. A great effort from a player who seems to be finding his peak at just the right time for his country. Peter Ongondo drops a couple of places to 4th in the Cricket Europe rankings after failing to keep up his wicket taking records against Bermuda, but still makes the ICC top 50, coming in at 47th with 494 points. The one to watch for Kenya is Hiren Varaiya who is only in 5th position on the Criekt Europe charts because of the lack of matches he's played. Similarly, he is just outside the ICC top 100, but if he maintains up his strike rate and economy, it will not be long before he will be right at the top of both lists. Tikolo (15th), Kamande (23rd) and Odhiambo (26th) round out the other Kenyans in Cricket Europe's top 30. Tikolo sits at 74th on the ICC list and is kept company by two bowlers who have not really featured for us this year, but keep their positions due to their past efforts, Collins Obuya (85th) and Martin Suji (96th).
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With the national team taking a month off now, some of these positions may have slipped a bit by the time the January rankings come out. In the mean while, congratulations to all those who have made the lists. Here's hoping they can surpass their efforts in 2007.
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Don't forget also that the Player of the year poll is running on the Cricket Europe - Kenya page. The winner goes into a poll against the winner of each of the other countries for Associate player of the year. So log on, get behind our players and show your support.

1 comment:

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