Saturday, February 11, 2006

Kenya's chances vs Bangladesh

Browsing the net for any potential news about the proposed tri series, I found this article on Banglacricket giving a run down on Bangladesh's chances against the six Associate members. Here's what they had to say about Kenya, who currently have the advantage of having played them 12 times, and won 8:
"Their record against Bangladesh is very impressive. Tikolo and Odumbe have scripted many victories against Bangladesh.
Bangladesh won in the 1986, 1990, 1997 (finals) ICC Trophy matches against Kenya. They also beat Kenya in 1998. On the other hand Kenya have won in 1994, 1997, 1998, 1997/98 (2 matches), 1998/99 (2 matches), and in the 2003 World Cup. In that World Cup, Kenya proved that they were far superior to Bangladesh going all the way to the semis.
However, since the world cup, Kenya has had very little competition while Bangladesh has gained valuable experience. Bangladesh's talent pool has broadened while Kenya basically still relies upon Tikolo's batting. Their coach Sandeep Patil also left after the 2003 World Cup. Their current coach is Mudassar Nazar.
Hopefully in March of 2006, Kenya will visit Bangladesh for a few games and we can witness a sound beating by Bangladesh. That should help to narrow the win-loss gap between us."
Written on Jan 26th, it is a bit out of date, but does show that Bangladesh feel they can beat us. They miss the fact that we now have a coach with experience at the highest level, but also omit the difference in standards between our youth players and theirs - we have a lot of catching up to do.
Tikolo I agree will be crucial on the tour, due not only to his batting, but experience of the Bangladesh conditions. We do have other batsmen who are more than capable, such as Otieno and Shah from the older players and Malhar Patel, Maurice Ouma and Charles Obuya from the relative newcomers to the team. We will also have a more probing bowling attack due to the youngsters who have recently been training in RSA. Plus Kenya always somehow raise their game against Bangladesh. They reckon a sound beating will take place. I reckon they are in for a surprise.

Cockenbach CC in action at coast

Cockenach CC from Cambridge, a side introduced by David Waters of Sporting Safari's , is playing in Mombasa this weekend. Their first match is today against Coast Gymkhana and then on Sunday they take on one of Kenya's oldest cricketing clubs, Mombasa Sports Club. A second side, Ipplepen CC, is also currently on tour in Kenya at the moment with matches lined up around the country.
It is great to see these touring sides in Kenya. Not only does it give our players a chance to play against players from overseas leagues and gain valuable experience, it also serves to showcase our wonderful country, and ability to host visiting teams. Good luck to the players concerned, and I hope the visiting teams have an enjoyable tour.


Two things amazed me in yesterday's VB series final match between Sri Lanka and Australia. First was that Sri Lanka managed to win, and in doing so, set up a cracker in Sydney tomorrow. Second was that Kumar Sangakkara was made Man of the the Match instead of Tillakaratne Dilshan. My belief is that the award should go to the player who is most instrumental in his team's victory. Instead it went to the top scoring batsman. Often these can be one and the same, but yesterday, I feel Dilshan could feel robbed. Sangakkara's innings was good, and under the circumstances helped Sri Lanka to a good total. It was however made at less than a run a ball. It was left to the later batsmen to turn what looked like 250 into a very defendable 273. One of these batsmen was Tillakaratne Dilshan - who did score at over a run a ball. It was the last flurry from him that turned the innings, though the slower 83 from Sangakkara may have saved it.
In the second innings, it was again Dilshan that made the difference. 4 run outs is in itself exceptional. Add a catch, and then look at the batsmen he got out. Would Sri Lanka have won without him - No way. Would they have won without Sangakkara - possibly. Maybe there is some rule from the sponsors saying it has to be the best performing batsman or bowler, but I still say fielding, and Tillakaratne Dilshan were robbed. I don't have a cheque to give, or a fancy little trophy, but for me, there is no doubt as to who the real Man of the Match should be.

A Game of Numbers

I have been doing some number crunching concerning possible results from Kenya's upcoming tour to Zimbabwe, and came up with the following possibilities in terms of the ODI table at the end of it:
Result KEN rating ZIM rating
Results show outcome for Kenya ie 5-0 means Kenya win the series 5-0.
The ratings shown are an average taken for that possible result, as the exact rating is determined by the order in which the matches are won or lost.
Bearing in mind that Kenya go into the tour with a rating of 18 having officially played 1 match, and Zimbabwe go in on a rating of 44 from 23 matches, we have a lot more to gain than they do. As soon as Kenya have played 10 matches and won 2 against a team already on the official table, we will be placed on the table ourselves.
This series gives us a good chance to win those two matches, and gain valuable points for when we reach the table. This should be after our 4th match in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh will also be watching the tour with interest, as they are currently sitting on 14 points from 23 matches. The results of this series will probably mean that all three teams will go into the Tri series in Bangladesh needing a good performance to avoid losing out to the others on the table. It should make for a very competetive couple of months of cricket.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Zimbabwe Tour Confirmed

It has officially been confirmed: Kenya's tour to Zimbabwe that has been in so much doubt is now definitely on. Not only that, but instead of the 3 ODI's that were touted previously, the tour will now comprise 5 matches, played over eight days. Awesome!
After weeks of doubts, the players training under Roger Harper now have a concrete goal to aim for.
It will be an intense tour. After arriving in Harare on Thursday 23rd February, there is only one day to acclimatise before back to back matches on the Saturday and Sunday.
The third match will be on Wednesday 1st March, and then the final two matches, again back to back on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th.
This is a wonderful opportunity for Kenya to advance their points in the ICC ODI Table. Even winning 2 out of the 5 matches will give them a rating of 30 points, up from the 18 that they currently have. Only losing 4-1 or 5-0 will leave Kenya worse off than they are now. A victorious tour on the other hand would leave Kenya in a very strong position indeed compared to not only Zimbabwe, but Bangladesh as well. After November's tour, it is quite possible that Kenya can not only win, but do so by a big margin. Should this happen, then we would overtake both countries in terms of points, with only number of matches played holding us back. With at least 3 matches in Bangladesh ahead, plus Holland later in March, this would not then be a concern, especially as we would expect to win against Holland, and at least one or two against the Tigers. Bring it on!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Results from Nakuru Woolmatt 6-a-Side

12 teams took part in the recent Woolmatt 6-a-side in Nakuru.
A preliminary round on Saturday 28th whittled the field down to 8 who went into a knockout. After the first round on Sunday 29th, the winners went on to compete for the Winner's Plate, played as 5-Over matches, while the losers contested a Loser's Plate, in 3-Over matches.
The teams competing were: BAPS, Shreeji 'A', Shreeji 'B', Menegai Oil, V.O.C 'A', V.O.C 'B', P.B.H, Melvins 'A', Melvins 'B', Spinknit, Akshar and Kericho.
After the preliminary round, the draw for 8 teams left was:
Spinknit vs. Ahshar, Shreeji 'A' vs. VOC 'A', VOC 'B' vs Kericho and BAPS vs Melvin 'A'.
Victories for Spinknit and Shreeji 'A', saw them contest one semi-final, won by Spinknit, while BAPS defeated Kericho in the other.
The finalists of the losers plate were Akshar and Melvin A.
BAPS continued their dominance to take the final, and the title, while Melvins A made some amends for their earlier defeat by winning the Loser's Plate.
Next up for Nakuru teams is a visit from the two touring English clubs, Cockenach and Ipplepen C.C on 18th and 19th Feb, then a 40-over league starting soon after.

Uganda: Kampala Kids League

This is the sort of thing we need in Kenya. 190 odd kids aged 6 and up being sponsored to play cricket. No surprise then that they qualified for the U19 World Cup and we didn't. I saw also on Big Cricket (they have an Ugandan cricket thread), that one of their U19 squad is only 14 - we will have to be wary of Emmanuel Nakaana in the future!
There was also an interesting point that Ugandan cricket is featured regularly in the news, and has a growing local following. It is time that the Kenyan dailies pulled their thumbs out and did the same. To grow nationally, interest must be cultivated within the wider community. It would be good to see the Nation and Standard doing their bit.

On again, of again tour is now on again

Or so it seems. At least this time, we are getting a list of names, and confirmation from both sides. Great news, as it will give Kenya a very good chance of advancing our One Day International status. Even if the Zimbabwe team go straight into camp, Kenya have the advantage that, due to successful domestic competition in Nairobi, we have been playing more cricket. Many of Zimbabwe's sixteen are also inexperienced, or have not performed to potential. Indeed their best hopes may rest in the hands of those players taking part in the U19 World Cup. Hopefully the tour will now stay on. Fingers crossed.

NPCA preview for 12th February

There will be more cricket action around Nairobi this weekend with the second round of the 45 Over Tournament taking place. I am still trying to get hold of results from round 1, and will post those when I do.
In Group A, S C L Y L take on Kanbis 'B' at Pindolia Academy, Simba Union host Oshwal XI, and group favourites, Kanbis 'A" face Parklands S C Ndovus at Eastleigh Sec School.
In Group B, Sir Ali 'A' host Premier in what I think will be the match to decide the second qualifier from the group, so a must win match for both teams. Parklands Rhinos pay a visit to Ruaraka, and Ngara have the unenviable task of tackling Swamibapa 'A'.
Group C sees Swamibapa 'B' doing battle with Qutbis at Premier Club, Khrishna XI versus Kongonis at Peponi School and Nbi Jaffery with what should be an easy home match against Sir Ali 'B', who lost to Kongonis last week.
Finally, Group D: Golden XI meet Nbi Nookers at Highridge Pr School, Nbi Gymkhana are favourites at home to Stray Lions, and Aga Khan should also have a home against Nbi Institute.
With all of the Kenya team players in Nairobi for training, one would expect them to turn out for their respective clubs. This could be bad luck for opponents of Swamibapa, as both Steve Tikolo, and Maurice Ouma will be looking to showcase their overseas form. Other National squad members to look out for with the bat will be the Obuya brothers for Jaffery, and the Kanbis pair of Alpesh Bhudia and Malhar Patel. Ashish Karia of Aga Khan and Alex Obanda of Kongonis will also be hoping to show the selectors what they can do. Bowlers to watch out for include Thomas Odoyo and young paceman Alfred Luseno for Jaffery, Rajesh Bhudia from Kanbis and Peter Ochieng from Swamis. It will be interesting to see if Kongonis young bowler Moses Otieno can continue his amazing form from last week. No pressure...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Busy Time For Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association

With the NPCA Twenty-20 season only just concluded, Nairobi's cricketers are already one game into the next competition. Last weekend saw the beginning of the 45 Over competition which will run until the end of March. There are 24 teams split into 4 groups of six. At the end of the round robin, where each team plays the others in it's group once, the top 2 teams from each group go through to the Knockout stage.
A brief rundown on the groups:
Group A
Kanbis 'A', Simba Union, S C L Y L, Parklands SC Ndovus, Oshwal XI, and Kanbis 'B'.
Based on the results from the previously concluded Main League (more on this later), the overwhelming favourites to go through are Kanbis 'A', and it would be no surprise if the 'B' side followed them in. Simba Union could be the outsiders for an upset.
Group B
Swamibapa 'A', Premier Club, Sir Ali 'A', Ngara, Ruaraka, and Parklands SC Rhinos.
It would be hard to bet against Swamis to top Group B, but second place could be a very hard fought affair. My pick to go through: Premier just, over Sir Ali.
Group C
Kongonis, Nairobi Jaffery, Krishna XI, Swamibapa 'B', Qutbis and Sir Ali 'B'.
Jaffery will probably take this pool, with the runner up between Kongonis and Swamis. I will go for Kongonis as they were the first team to make direct contact - they must be winners!
Group D
Nairobi Gymkhana, Aga Khan SC, Stray Lions, Nairobi Nookers, Nairobi Institute and Golden XI.
Sensible money would probably be on Gymkhana and Aga Khan to go through easily, with the minor places hotly contested.
I do have in my hot little hands also, the full results from the NPCA Twenty-20 comp, as well as the final standings from the Main League, and more details from Nakuru's 6 a-side. I will post on these in the next day or so.
Thanks to Miq Assaria from the NPCA for all his help.

African Associates Struggle at U19 World Cup

It has not been a good few days for Uganda and Namibia at the Under 19 World Cup. Both teams got off to a disastrous start with Namibia being belted to the tune of 9 wickets by India, and Uganda doing only marginally better by losing to Pakistan by 8 wickets. Round 2 has hardly been much better - the main difference was that this time the opposition batted first, so Namibia lost to Sri Lanka by 137 runs, while Uganda went down to New Zealand by 122 runs. Not good results at all, and the worrying thing is that these teams both qualified at the expense of Kenya to reach the finals. We know from past experiences that Kenya has a long way to go in terms of development, but this really does drive the point home. For cricket in Kenya to rise to a level where we can compete against the top teams, we have two huge mountains to climb. First, we need to vastly increase the number of youngsters playing the game, and I am told that the new administration are hard at work trying to achieve this. Secondly, we then need to raise the standard of those youngsters so that they not only beat the likes of Uganda and Namibia, but can also stand toe to toe with the established nations. This will definitely be the harder of the tasks. It will need resources in terms of coaches, equipment and time. Currently, Kenya does not have a lot of any of those, so Cricket Kenya are going to have to come up with some novel solutions. Perhaps the most obvious is utilise ex-players. There must be plenty out there with something to teach to kids, and just going on the state of the economy, many could probably use a bit of extra cash. Equipment is more tricky. Some of the monies from the ICC grant will obviously go towards this, but again resourcefulness will have to be the key. The Tikolo brothers are fine examples of this - they learnt to play using a cricket stump as a bat, and a carved maize cob as the ball. Looking at the way Steve Tikolo bats, maybe this should be introduced as a standard practice. It is cheap, and with a few more batsmen like him in the ranks, a world class standard would not seem so far away.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Database of domestic cricket in Kenya

This may be too big an undertaking, but I think that it needs to be done. Does anyone out there have any recent scorecards or match results they can contribute? I believe the NCPA have just started a new league, and Nakuru are due to start one next week. No news yet from the coast. If anyone has any information, please get in contact - it will probably be patchy data to begin with, but it needs to start somewhere.

Kongonis bowlers destroy Sir Ali 'B'

Thanks to David Waters from Kongonis who sent me this match report:
"We got our 45 over tournament campaign off to an excellent start on Sunday with an easy 7 wicket win, before lunch against Sir Ali 'B'.
We welcomed back Richard Steel for his first game for quite a while and also Duncan Allan for his 1st team debut behind the stumps.
I lost the toss, of course, and Sir Ali batted.
19 overs later I guess they wish they hadn't.
76 all out was all they managed, with Moses Otieno in devastating form.
9 overs 4 maidens 6 wickets for 7 runs were his figures.
Fellow opener Dominic Wasonga also bowled well and Duncan took a superb catch to round off a good day for the youngsters in the field.
In reply, and despite a couple of early scares, Kongonis romped home in 15 overs with Peter Kituku [24 not out] and Madan Sundaram [5 not out] building on a decent knock of 17 from Kabir Dhanji."
It sounds like Kongoni's have a couple of very talented bowlers there. We shall watch Moses Otieno with interest - those are particularly devastating figures!

Monday, February 06, 2006

How to play cricket

Since the beginning of this site, I have had a few people email me with questions along the lines of "How do I learn to play cricket?"
While my best advice to you is - find a local club or team and have a go, I have also included a link called to Cricinfo's Cricket Carnival (called "How to play cricket" in cricket links) for those who want to do a bit of a web net session. As far as can be done on a computer, this will give you a good idea of the theory behind basic techniques. I cannot reiterate strongly enough however: The best and most enjoyable way to learn the game is to play it. Happy cricketing!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Results from poll

Results from the last poll which asked "Will Roger Harper mold a winning team to take to Bangladesh in such a short time?"

Yes - No problem man! - 9%
Yes - But it will be hard work - 64%
No - he needs more time - 9%
Bangladesh will chicken out - 18%

Good to see an optimistic view out there. All the best to the new coach as the team start training on Monday.

More on Cricket in Nakuru

12 teams took part in a six-a-side event sponsored by Woolmatt supermarket last weekend. I should hopefully have further details of the results soon. There are also matches scheduled against two touring sides from England. In a lead up to the 40 over a side league, Cockenach and Ipplepen Cricket Clubs are due for matches on 18th and 19th of February. Again, I will post the fixture list when I hear more. Thanks to Mr Shailesh for the update.

Zimbabwe Roller Coaster Continues

It look like bad news! Not that we can really be surprised considering the circumstances. It is a tragedy for Zimbabwe cricket and a big set back in regards to Kenya's prospective fixture list. I wonder though, if Zimbabwe do get the boot from ODI's as well as Tests, will their place in the preliminary round of the Champs Trophy then go up for grabs?
It seems like very time you read an article about cricket in Zimbabwe, things are getting worse. Apparently, not only are negotiations breaking down, but reports that sixteen players had signed contracts are actually false. Even players like Dion Ebrahim, who had previously been on better terms with the board are now being left out in the cold. How long will the ICC sit back and let this go on. If the ZCU are unable to act sensibly, surely it must be up to the parent body to step in with an ultimatum - use it or lose it. Arguments that they cannot get involved with internal disputes hold no water. The precedent has already been set with Kenya, and they owe a larger duty to the cricket players involved than to a politically appointed board. Come on ICC, time to pull fingers out, and get this mess resolved.