Saturday, February 04, 2006

Inter-provincial Cricket

Do Coastweek, and the Coast Cricket Association know more than the rest of us? I know that this is something that was planned by Cricket Kenya, but could it happen sooner than we think? One thing I did notice in the picture, was that there seem to be no African faces in the Coast squad. There must be a lot of untapped talent in Mombasa. Yet another thing for the new administration to work on. Mind you, with the enthusiasm I have encountered recently, though there are more heads than the hydra when it comes to getting cricket on the right track, I somehow believe it can and will be achieved.

Zim Saga rolls on

I feel exceedingly sorry for Zimbabwe's cricketers. A rock and a hard place has nothing on it! I wonder if this means that they will be touring Kenya after all, or is it just the ZCU board's way of removing players who oppose their will?
If they do tour, the team will hardly be in great shape, and should be easy pickings. Should this happen, however hard it seems, there must be no mercy shown on the field. There will never be a better chance for Kenya to earn cheap points, and if the positions were reversed, we could expect the same. That said, if Kenya can capitalise and take a lead in the series, it would also be a great chance to blood some of the young talent. Here's hoping, but not expecting...

Cricket in Nakuru

Traditionally, cricket in Kenya has been seen as the preserve of those in Nairobi and Mombasa. Mr Shailesh in Nakuru however wrote to tell me different:

"Nakuru has been actively playing cricket with league games and shorter version 6 a side for over a decade now at Nakuru Athletic Club (NAC)."

Teams travel from Kakamega, Kissi, Eldoret, Narok, Kericho, Kisumu, Bungoma and Migori on a regular basis to take part in a 40 overs a-side league. Once in while teams will also make the trip from Naivasha and Nyahururu.

He goes on to say that Nakuru has been a focal point for development of cricket for both the Rift Valley Province and Western Kenya.
The task ahead, however, is not an easy one:

"...we need to do a lot in this region to take the game to grass root level, and for those who are already playing... we are still playing on a matting wicket, we need either astro or proper turf introduced gradually in all centres."

It may be an uphill task, but it is none the less heartening to see that cricket has a home outside Nairobi and Mombasa. All the best to Mr Shailesh and the others in Nakuru for the hard work ahead. I look forward to the day we see a player from this region make it to the national team.

Kenya Squad

Full Provisional Squad:

Steve Tikolo (C), Josephat Ababu, Ragab Aga, Amit Bhudia, Rajesh Bhudia, Rashmi Ghami, Abeed Janmohamed, Jimmy Kamande, Ashish Karia, Peter Kituku, Alfred Luseno, Hafeez Manji, Tanmay Mishra, Hitesh Modi, Alex Obanda, Charles Obuya, Collins Obuya, Kenedy Obuya (Otieno), Peter Ochieng (Ongondo), Nehemiah Odhiambo (Ngoche), Thomas Odoyo, Lameck Onyango, Elijah Otieno, Maurice Ouma, Kaplesh Patel, Malher Patel, Ravindu Shah, Martin Suji, Tony Suji, Mohammed Sheikh.

A Positive Response from Cricket Kenya

I recently wrote to various people associated with cricket in Kenya to tell them about the site, and encourage people in Kenya to visit/contribute.
The response has been generally very positive, but I would especially like to single out Samir Inamdar, the Chairman of Cricket Kenya, and Matthew Rudd, Kongoni's on-field captain, for the help they have given me. It is heartening that since I have communicated with them, the majority of new visitors to the site are now from Kenya. Hopefully this will be the beginning of some great steps in promoting our game and our country.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Cricket and the Commonwealth Games

As a cricket lover, I thought it was a great shame that a country with Australia's cricket pedigree and organisation skills did not include it in this years Commonwealth games. I hope that the wrangles are sorted out for the next leg - it would be great to see it make a return, especially as by 2010, Kenya could well be in the hunt for a medal. It is a long way away, but something to look forward to perhaps?

Hopes fade for Zimbabwe Tour

Looking at this article from the BBC, and this corresponding report from Cricinfo, it looks unlikely that we will see Zimbabwe anywhere at all this year, let alone in Kenya as soon as March. Maybe it would be a good idea for Cricket Kenya to see if they can organise one of the other Associate nations at short notice to serve as a warm-up before they travel to Bangladesh. I would think that either Uganda, or Namibia from the African nations would be keen, but even better would be one of the other 'Six', say Ireland or Scotland who we are not otherwise due to play this year.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

After encouragement from Rodd and Kris, who naively said they would help show me how to use it, I have purchased for the next 5 years. At the moment, until I get more organised, and learn about web design, it should just redirect to here, but the plan is to make a really good go of doing this properly. I have also had a couple of replies to people linked to cricket in Kenya, so things should improve in the information stakes as well.

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.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Intercontinental Cup Dates

Well it seems as though the dates have finally been finalised for the ICC Intercontinental Cup.
It has been confirmed on the ICC's development webpage that Kenya will kick off their fixtures by hosting Holland in Nairobi from March 28-31. We will then travel to Canada in late July to play them between July 29 - August 1, before the final league match against Bermuda at home from November 9 - 12.
This is a slightly different format to last year in that the teams play 4 day matches rather than 3. Not only does this increase the chance of a result, but is much closer to the 5 days of a Test. Both batsmen and bowlers will have to increase their concentration to make an impact on the game. With an International grouping, it also means that teams get to play against different competition than they have been used to in the last two year's preliminary matches. Teams also get an extra game before the finals due to the pools being 4 teams strong, rather than 3.
This is the complete schedule, with the host side first:
March 23 - 26, 2006 - Namibia v Nepal.
March 28 - 31, 2006 - Kenya v The Netherlands.
May 12 - 15, 2006 - Scotland v Namibia/Nepal.
May 18 - 21, 2006 - Ireland v Namibia/Nepal.
July 29 - August 1, 2006 - Canada v Kenya.
August 12 - 15 2006 - Canada v Bermuda.
August 17 - 20, 2006 - Scotland v Ireland.
November 9 - 12, 2006 Kenya v Bermuda.
November 21 - 24, 2006 - the Netherlands v Bermuda (South Africa). December 5 - 8 , 2006 - the Netherlands v Canada (South Africa).
January 31 - February 3, 2007 - UAE v Scotland.
February 9 - 12, 2007 - UAE v Ireland.
TBA - UAE v Namibia/Nepal.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Australian Swimming Trials

While this is completely unrelated to cricket and Kenya, a huge shout out to my 'little' cousin Andrew (younger, but about twice my size!) and his fiance Jade who have just qualified for the Commonwealth Games. Andrew came 3rd in the men's 200m Butterfly, while Jade won the 50m Breaststroke. Not only that, she also lowered her own World Record in the heats. Go You Good Things!!!

Harper Meets Provisional Squad

A couple of pieces of good news from this Cricinfo article. First, it seems to confirm that the Bangladesh tour will go ahead, though still no dates. Second it shows that Harper is taking his job seriously. He is not going to jump to hasty decisions regarding the squad, and is going to take players on their merits. Steve Tikolo's return as captain is also reassuring. He has done so much for Kenya cricket, and is still the outstanding performer. Ravindu Shah is a bit of an enigma. He has the talent, but how rusty will he be after two years on the bench injured? I am still trying to find somewhere that lists the rest of the provisional squad.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Kenya to host World League First Division Tournament

Good news in an otherwise empty larder for Kenyan Cricket this weekend. Though the dates and format are yet to be confirmed, this will be a great boost for Kenya ahead of the World Cup.
Talking of Dates, I have been doing a lot of searching for a complete list of Kenya's 2006 fixtures.
As yet, none of these are officially confirmed, but these are the amalgamated results:
Holland Intercontinental Cup 4 day. Nairobi.
Holland ODI. Nairobi.
Zimbabwe. 3 ODI series. Nairobi.
Bangladesh. 3 ODI series or possibly Tri-series with Zim. Bangladesh.
I think that all of the above in one month unlikely. If the Zim and Bangla tours go ahead, Holland will probably be moved.
Pakistan. 3 ODI series. Pakistan.
Uganda. Unknown, possible OD. Nairobi
Canada. Intercontinental Cup 4 Day. Canada
Canada, Bermuda. ODI Tri-series. Canada
Uganda. Unknown. Uganda.
Bermuda. Intercontinental Cup 4 Day. Nairobi.
Bermuda. ODI. Nairobi ?
Bangladesh. ODI series. Bangladesh.
Bermuda. ODI series. Nairobi.
JAN 2007:
Mini World Cup (Bermuda,Scotland,Ireland,Holland,Canada). Nairobi.
FEB 2007:
MAR '07:
5/3/07 West Indies. ODI. WC warmup. Jamaica.
8/3/07 Holland. ODI. WC warmup. Jamaica.
14/3/07 Canada. ODI. WC r1. St. Lucia.
20/3/07 New Zealand. ODI. WC r1. St Lucia.
24/03/07 England. ODI. WC r1. St Lucia.
Is anyone able to confirm or deny any of the above dates/tours? I would have thought that the 3 different series vs Bermuda unlikely, and also the Nov Bangladesh fixtures.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Windies World Cup 2007 Odds

While searching the new for more news on Kenya's fixtures between now and the World Cup, I found this site. Interesting reading - Kenya at the same as Bangladesh at 501, yet at longer odds than Zimbabwe who are at 251? Hmmm, we shall see if that doesn't change over the next few months! I think Scotland and Holland are the wrong way around as well.

Kenyans Missing Match Analysis Workshop

This is not the sort of thing fans of Kenya Cricket want to see.
I had not heard of this workshop before, but I am worried by the part that states:
"This initiative has been co-funded by the countries and the ICC High Performance Program. The Netherlands and Kenya were unable to send representatives to the workshop but will receive similar training ahead of their participation in the ICC CWC 2007."
We have seen the ball dropped by officials of Kenyan cricket before. I hope that Kenya will genuinely get trained in the use of this equipment, and receive full access to it. I do know that Roger Harper supposedly has and can use all the software, but other members of the Kenyan support must also be taught the use of these.

Fixtures for Associate members in 2006

I found this great thread today at Big Cricket, and thought I would put in my 2 bobs worth. It's good to see others out there with the same point of view. Go the underdogs!

In Praise of Twenty-20, Limited Overs and Yard Cricket Epics

I was replying to this post on Different Strokes, when I realised that my comment was becoming more of a tirade, so would probably be more appropriate here.
It is very frustrating when you read someone criticising one particular form of cricket over another. Yes, there is a heirarchy. Yes, Test cricket is the ultimate goal, but it is definitely not the only form of the game that deserves to be played or watched.
Religion is a great example of what division can do. Two parties have a disagreement over the wording of a particular prayer at worship one day. The discussion escalates, and they start sitting on opposite sides of the place of worship. After a while, this becomes too much for one group, and they split off to form their own sect. People write to the papers. "My way of worshipping" soon becomes "My God is better than your god". Now noses get really out of joint. The argument continues with the emotion becoming increasingly heated. Eventually they have a biff, and several thousand people get killed. Sorry if this is facetious, but I am trying to make a point.
Twenty-20 is a type of cricket, not a different sport. So for that matter are backyard cricket, test matches, beach cricket, fifty overs games, six-a-side slog fests, tip-n-run french cricket, street cricket, mini cricket and anything else played with a bat, ball and wickets (or a wheelie bin). Some of the rules may differ, and the players, numbering anywhere from 2 to a hundred, may wear anything from whites, to pyjamas, shorts, swimming cossies, or even nothing at all. A game could last as little as two balls, or it could be a 2-year epic incorporating breaks for such things as lessons and school holidays. For those counting, I believe I was on about 2500 runs for the loss of a couple of hundred wickets or so when we finally broke for University.
It doesn't matter how the game is played or by who, they are all good fun. If Twenty-20 encourages more kids to the game, great. If none of them ever make it to Test level, I will do a nude run around Lords in my zimmerframe before I finally check in to My Heaven (which is better than your heaven because is serves beer and biltong and plays mixed Twenty-20 cricket in the nud). As an after thought, I wonder what proportion of those stuffy people who say Tests should be the only form of the game, have never actually played in a Test match themselves. I bet they would still call themselves cricketers...