Saturday, March 11, 2006

Odoyo Your Man Of The Series vs Zimbabwe

Voting has now closed on this, and Thomas Odoyo topped your votes to be Player of The Series.
Results, and the corresponding primary points for the awards are as follows:

Odoyo 38%.............2.5pts

Ongondo 23%........1.5 pts

Otieno 15%.............1pt

Tikolo 8%...............0.5pts

Mishra 4%..............0.25pts

Kamande 4%..........0.25pts

Other players who also polled votes, but not enough to warrant points are Brijal Patel, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Kalpesh Patel and Tony Suji.
All eyes now to the Bangladesh series. I will have a separate poll for EACH match, so please vote, and support the player you think should be man of the match in each game. Polls will close 1 week after the match is played.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Modi, Obuya and Suji Recalled.

UPDATED 11/3/06: (Odhiambo not in team as first published)
Kenya's squad for the upcoming tour to Bangladesh has been announced. Again thanks to cricinfo for the news. Hitesh Modi, recently returned to Kenya for his Grandmother's funeral has been brought back to strengthen the batting, while Martin Suji and Collins Obuya return to bolster the bowling. The players from the Zimbabwe tour to miss out are Brijal Patel and Josephat Ababu, hardly a surprise considering their respective form, and the fact that Ababu is injured. Nehemiah Odhiambo is also being left at home. It is a shame to see Amit Bhudia miss out for a couple of reasons. First, he has a lot of talent, and could prove a useful batsman for Kenya. Second, he is from the Coast and selecting him would show the players from provinces other than Nairobi that they can make it to the national side. He is still young however, so hopefully his time will come.
On the whole though, I like the make up of the team. Martin back to open the bowling will be a huge boost, as will Modi's experience with the bat. Collins was left behind last time as he had not yet found his form. I assume from his selection that he is now back to his former self. If so, this will be a huge bonus for Kenya. Tikolo is a great captain of spin bowling, and knows the Bangladesh conditions well. There is no doubt that this is a stronger team than that sent to Zimbabwe, and gives much greater hope for a decent showing.
Kenya Team To Bangladesh:


Someone's been telling porky pies

According to this story on cricinfo, the earlier report on the players strike was not accurate. Steve Tikolo said that the confusion arose when the Nation reporter saw the players waiting for the meeting, and jumped to conclusions. If this was the case, it explains why Tikolo did not bother to answer the reporter's questions as to why the team were 'on strike'.
It certainly made a good story, and was enough to get me for one onto my high horse. One way or another, someone has been telling fibs. If it is Tikolo, I stand by what I said earlier, and will have to reasses my opinion of him. If it was the Nation (in light of the cricinfo article, the more likely option), then full apologies for casting doubt on the team. I should have more faith. Especially as I have imense respect for Tikolo as both a captain and gentleman. I will also have to take with a grain of salt all future articles written by the Nation on cricket. Not a pleasing prospect, as they are still one of the few sources of news on the game from home. Hopefully in time, there will be enough first hand information available to me that this will no longer matter. Roll on that day.

Naming Of Squad Delayed

Kenya's squad to tour Bangladesh, due to be chosen on Wednesday, is still being kept secret. Chairman of Selectors, David Waters said yesterday that the squad would not be officially named until the players concerned had been contacted. I have no problems with this, but I hope the players were aware, and it was not one of the reasons for yesterday's madness.
In terms of the make up of the squad, the general feel is that the majority of those taken to Zimbabwe will be retained, excepting those with injuries. Two players who missed out on travelling to Zimbabwe, Martin Suji, and Hitesh Modi are however likely to make their way back into the side. Suji is said to have fully recovered from his injury, and will give extra strength to Kenya's bowling attack. If Odoyo and Ongondo can maintain their form from the last tour, this will mean Kenya will have a much stronger bowling attack than in Zimbabwe. Two of the seamers who travelled, Josephat Ababu (back), and Alfred Luseno (groin) are currently injured so will be rested, while Lameck Onyango's ankle is still not strong enough to allow him to play. This does mean that Kenya are short a seamer. Nehemiah Odhiambo may retain his place, and be given a longer run, or the other young all rounder, Kalpesh Patel could get his debut - it is certainly due. Rageb Aga would be another possibility.
Modi's return will give Kenya an experienced left hander in the batting line-up, and will probably be at the expense of Brijal Patel. No news yet on Ravindu Shah's recovery. Assuming 14 players will be selected, as was the case for Zimbabwe, my guess would be the following to travel on Monday:
Steve Tikolo (Cpt). Batsman, Bowls RA Off spin.
Thomas Odoyo (VC). All rounder. Opening Bowler - RA med-fast.
Kennedy Otieno (wkt). Opening Batsman.
Martin Suji. Opening Bowler - RA med-fast.
Tanmay Mishra. Batsman.
Hitesh Modi. Batsman.
Peter Ongondo. Bowler RA fast-medium (first change).
Jimmy Kamande. All rounder. Bowls RA off-breaks.
Nehemiah Odhiambo (Ngoche). Bowler - RA med-fast.
Kalpesh Patel. All rounder. Bowls RA medium.
Tony Suji. Batting All rounder. Bowls RA medium.
Amit Bhudia. Batsman
Maurice Ouma/David Obuya. Batsman/reserve wkt kpr.
Collins Obuya/Mohamed Sheikh/Rashmi Ghami in that order depending on Obuya's form, and Sheikh's availability. We need at least one genuine spinner.
This would leave Kenya with 10 batting options, 6 seamers, 3 spinners and 2 wicket keepers. This takes into account both aspects of the all rounders of course. I have no doubts the selectors will spring a surprise or three, but it could and should be a fairly balanced squad.

All Is Not Well In the Kenyan Camp

All sorts of things appear to have gone amiss with the Kenyan training camp yesterday. By far the most serious of these was a player's strike in which the team downed bats and balls after failing to be addressed by Cricket Kenya. Apparently, the address was going to cover renumeration for the players going on the Bangladesh tour. Tom Tikolo, who was supposedly going to speak to the players inexcusably didn't, so they took the afternoon off training. Steve Tikolo, the team captain, apparently declined to disclose details on what the players were unhappy about.
While this was an acceptable, if lamentable, tactic under the Kenyan Cricket Association when they were never paid, this is no longer the case. According to Cricket Kenya Chairman Samir Inamdar, Cricket Kenya has paid the players the money due to them from the Zimbabwe tour, and was yesterday to inform them of what they could expect to be paid from the Bangladesh tour. If this is true, and the players are not owed any money, yesterday's strike was ill considered at best, and sheer idiocy at worst. Cricket in Kenya is going through a very fragile stage at the moment, and has only recently managed to get a sponsor back on board. Players are amoung those who will reap the rewards of sponsorship deals made through Cricket Kenya. Sponsors are hardly likely to be queing up if the team is going to behave like a bunch of spoiled kids. Fair enough, Cricket Kenya should have been there to address them. That Tom Tikolo wasn't could be a symptom of deeper trouble, or it could have been a genuine failure of communication. Lets hope it was the latter. The team are within their rights to be upset that they were not addressed, but the decision to go on strike over this when there are so few training days ahead of the tour is mind boggling. Consider Kenya having a successful tour. If we win or draw, we should qualify for the Champions Trophy. This is potentially a huge money spinner both for Cricket Kenya, and the players involved. Lessening the chances of qualifying through aborting training is cutting off the nose to spite the face. Ultimately, it will be the players who lose out from this, as well as all of the slowly growing number of fans. For the sake of everyone who loves cricket in Kenya, get back to work guys. If you are unhappy about something, go through the proper channels. The World backed you when you were messed around by the KCA, they will not do so if you damage the few gains Kenyan cricket has made since May.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Cross Posting on Sulekha

I was offered the opportunity to have my blog simultaneously published on Sulekha, and accepted. It should hopefully expand the readership, and spread the word further. To those of you reading this there, Welcome to Kenya Cricket, I hope you enjoy your visit.

Draw released for Akshar League in Nakuru

Seven teams from all parts of the Rift Valley have confirmed their participation in the Akshar limited overs tournament to be held in Nakuru between now and the end of August. As well as teams from Nakuru, there are teams from afar field as Naivasha, Eldoret and Kericho. This is a fantastic effort on behalf of both the organisers, and the participating teams who in some cases, will have to travel for several hours for the matches. The tournament kicks off this weekend with V.O.C taking on Akshar 'B' on Sunday the 12th. One match will be played every Sunday leading up to the semi finals and final in late August. I will endeavour to keep everyone updated on the results and the scheduled matches.
Thanks again to Shailesh for his continued support in Nakuru.
Full list of competing teams:

Cricket In Scotland

I am a great believer that the Associate Nations need to stick together and give each other as much support as we can. To this end, take a look at The Rampant Lion, a fansite for Scotish cricket. it is a great site, and something that us Kenya supporters need to emulate (I am still working on one at the moment). Kenya and Scotland are two of the better of the Associates, and as such will be the teams others look to as a benchmark . We will not be playing them until January of next year, but they will I'm sure be one of our main rivals in the next few years at least. Thanks to Andrew for the link.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Cricket To Be Shown On Free To Air Kenyan TV

This is quite momentous news for cricket fans in Kenya. The series in question is the England tour to India, both Test matches and One Day Internationals. For the first time ever, from 7:30a.m tomorrow, Wananchi in Kenya will be able to watch live coverage of an international series. While it would be an even greater step if the coming tour to Bangladesh would be televised, this should still lead to a huge upsurge in popularity for the game within Kenya. The administrative bodies, national and provincial, need to move quickly to make sure the most is made from this exposure.

This coverage has been a very long time coming, and the importance of it cannot be understated. It is so important for young enthusiasts of a game to be able to see it on television, both to encourage their love of the game, and to foster ambition. Those who have been lucky enough to grow up watching sport on TV know what I mean. Now, finally, they will be able to do this via KBC channel 1. Well done to KBC - a great step. Now lets see someone giving our own national team some live coverage!

Kenya Team Back In Training

The National team is today scheduled to resume training at the Aga Khan Sports Ground in Nairobi in preparation for the tour to Bangladesh. Under the watchful eye of Coach Roger Harper, the players will be put through their paces today and tomorrow before playing two internal matches, also at Aga Khan. It will no doubt be an intense few days for the squad as the coach tries to iron out some of the problems from the Zimbabwe tour, and maybe looks at a few changes.
Thomas Odoyo's absence will be the most keenly felt, as he is attending his mother's funeral. As man-of-the-series against Zimbabwe, it is hoped he will be able to rejoin the rest of the squad before the tour commences.

There are several places in the team that are up for grabs. In Ravidu Shah's continuing absence, Kenya have tried several replacement openers, so far with little success. Maurice Ouma, chosen for the trip to Zimbabwe failed to impress, and in the one chance he got, David Obuya also did little to trouble the scorers. Both players have potential, but maybe someone else needs to take on the responsibility of getting the Kenyan innings off to a good start. With Kennedy Otieno in form, this position is crucial to Kenya being able to post a good target. Having two capable batsmen at the top of the order would also take the pressure off the middle order and allow them to play their shots to greater effect.

The number 3 slot is also a concern of some note. In the four matches in Zimbabwe, Tony Suji totalled a mere 68 runs for an average of 17. There may have been worse performances, but the speed he scored at is a worry for a batsman in that position. He faced 140 balls for his runs, so scored at less than 3 runs an over. Compare that with the other number 3s around in the international game, and there is a huge gulf that needs to be bridged. I am not against Tony's selection in the team, far from it. He is more than capable as a batsman, but later in the innings, and proved again in Zimbabwe that he can still take wickets with the ball. Suji at 3 was an experiment worth trying, but it is now time to give someone else a chance. Two batsmen who should be strongly considered for the above positions are Tanmay Mishra and Amit Bhudia. Both are young, so will have time to grow into the slots over the next few years, and both have talent. Mishra performed will in Zimbabwe, and only nerves prevented him from registering his first fifty. It is a waste to have such talent batting down the order.

Kenya's bowling line up also needs strengthening. Only two bowlers performed with distinction in Zimbabwe: Thomas Odoyo marched to his 70th ODI wicket in claiming man-of-the-series, and Peter Ongondo showed that he has really come of age. Indeed, his eleven wickets for the tour at 9.9 was an exceptional effort. If he can maintain this form in Bangladesh, he could well develop into a great replacement for Martin Suji. If Suji is not fit to return to the side (no news either way so far), Kenya need to find two more bowlers capable of taking wickets. Of those taken on tour to Zimbabwe, Luseno and Ababu never managed to set the World on fire, and Ngoche only got a brief, if expensive, chance. All of the three can however make a case for being taken to Bangladesh. Ababu because of his great form domestically, though this means little if he can't get international wickets, and the other two as they will figure in Kenya's future. It was a waste to see Kalpesh Patel taken on tour, and never given a chance. He deserves the opportunity to show what he can do this next time around. Whoever does get a ticket needs to step up and begin taking wickets at this level.

After the Zimbabwe tour, these players would be my picks for an automatic slot to Bangladesh:
Steve Tikolo, Thomas Odoyo, Kennedy Otieno, Peter Ongondo, Tanmay Mishra, Jimmy Kamande, Tony Suji (as an all rounder, not a batsman).

There are a couple who didn't get enough of a run to really tell, so should probably get a second chance: Kalpesh Patel, David Obuya.

Then there are those who in my opinion should consider their places under pressure:
Brijal Patel - Weighed in with 2 useful wickets, but was dismal with the bat. His best argument for selection is that he is a leftie who can bowl off breaks.
Maurice Ouma: Had a nightmare tour as opener. He is probably talented enough to deserve a second chance lower down the order. Has to start making runs again if he wants to be retained.
Alfred Luseno: Another youngster with lots of talent, but little to show for it so far. His pace could be a potent weapon if it can be channelled correctly.
Nehemiah Odhiambo Ngoche: Was expensive in his only 4 overs in Zimbabwe. That one bad spell though should not be enough to keep him from a second opportunity. We need to find out to a greater extent his long term potential for Kenya.
Josephat Ababu: He is still not taking wickets in international matches. Domestic form can be great, but it will do Kenya no good if he gets a ticket and again fails to deliver.

Some of the players Kenya need to examine with a thought to this and future tours:
Moses Otieno - Showing potential with the ball in the domestic comp.
Mohammed Sheikh - Can spin the ball, and take wickets. He missed out on Zimbabwe as his employer would not release him from work. Cricket Kenya need to try and find ways around this sort of situation. If Collins Obuya is still struggling for form, Kenya needs someone like Mohammed to take over the spinning duties.
Collins Obuya - Please someone tell me he is getting his spinning going again. If he is in form, Collins can be a genuine match winner for Kenya. Out of form, he will get belted out of the park, and do his confidence no good.
Rashmi Ghami - I think he is a leftie, and he is another spin option. He has definite potential for Kenya, but it may be a bit early. Hopefully a certainty for the 'A' team against Holland if he misses out on Bangladesh.
Amit Bhudia - Could be a welcome inclusion to Kenya's batting line up. I felt he was unlucky to miss out on Zimbabwe.
Ragab Aga: Once tipped by Tikolo as a future captain. Is a useful bowler, and is young while still having some experience.
There are plenty of others in the squad who will be putting their hands up for selection. All the best to those in the mix; for those that miss out - remember there is still the Kenya 'A' vs Holland match to showcase their skills.

Thomas Odoyo, You Are In Our Thoughts.

To Thomas Odoyo and his family, we offer our condolences for their sad loss last Friday. May your mother rest in eternal peace. Our thoughts are with you and your family during this sad time. God Bless.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

NPCA 45-Over Tournament Standings

Finally, there is some online reporting of domestic cricket in Kenya. THe basis of this post comes from Richard Mwangi's report of the weekend matches in the Sports section of the Nation. I would link direct, but the Nation requires passwords to access articles. He goes in to a little bit more detail on the two summarised matches.
Summarised scores from the NPCA weekend matches:
Sir Ali Muslim Club 194 for 10 in 44.2 overs (Abdul Rehman 47, Zafir Din 44, Shiraz Ali 19, Amit Shukla 4-19, Hari Vadani 2-41) beat
Ruaraka Sports Club
130 for 10 in 34.3 overs (Amit Shukla 36, Anilesh 27, Abdul Rehman 3-13, Sharaz Ali 2-14, Mujeesh Ashraf 2-6). by 64 runs.
Kanbis 'A' 264 for 8 in 45 overs (Devshi Khetani 78, Arvind Halai 72, Ramesh Mepani 44, Rohit Vekaria 3-53, Pritesh Lalji 2-54). beat
Kanbis 'B' 95 for 10 in 25.3 overs (P. Jesani 20, H. Khetani 3-43, Rajesh Bhudia 2-17). by 169 runs.
The standings so far have Sir Ali leading group 'A', though Swamibapa 'A', who are second have two matches in hand, as they have had games postponed due to players being absent on national duty.
Group B is headed by the two Kanbis teams, while in group C, Swamibapa 'B' trail Nairobi Jaffery who like the Swamis have matches in hand.
Group D springs a slight surprise with Nairobi Nookers leading from Aga Khan.
While the Quarter finals are due to be played this coming weekend, they may be delayed to enable Jaffery and Swamibapa to complete their pool matches. Going off the current standings, the draw for the Quarters would be as follows:
Swamibapa 'A' vs. Swamibapa 'B'. (assuming the 'A' team will win grp A).
Kanbis 'A' vs. Aga Khan.
Nairobi Jaffery vs. Sir Ali.
Nairobi Nookers vs. Kanbis 'B'.
With the national squad back from Zimbabwe, and some places up for grabs for the Bangladesh tour, it should be a highly competetive couple of weeks cricket in Nairobi.

Monday, March 06, 2006

USA's latest Civil War

Kenya is not the only team whose progress has recently been hampered by a nasty civil war. Cricket in the United States - one of the first countries ever to play an international match, has been going through it's own strife recently. While Kenya is hopefully now on the road to full recovery under Cricket Kenya, the Americans are still slugging it out. For the good of the game over there, it is to be hoped that the Major League Cricket faction is the one that wins out. During Kenya's turmoil, it was the eventual intervention of the ICC that lead to the ousting of the KCA by Cricket Kenya. It would be nice if the ICC would take a little less time in sorting out the mess in America. MLC look like they could provide a bright future for the sport there. It will never rival baseball, but they have the potential to put forward a very strong team in the years ahead with the number of players they could muster. On another note, it would be great to see Cricket Kenya launch an official site. My hat is in the ring for this, but as yet, no news. Fingers crossed eh!

Kenya's New Strip.

Well, we have a new sponsor (IHSAN Sports), so it is not surprising that the National team now has a new strip. So far, the only photos I've come across are the ones on cricinfo:

Kennedy Otieno celebrates a wicket.

Tony Suji celebrating after removing Duffin.

Interesting that there is no black or red in it to make up the full colours of the National flag. Not that it is a necessity to have them, just unusual not to. On the whole, I think it is an improvement on the Off Green, and 'Pixie' outfits we wore in the last two World Cups. It has a slightly more 'take me seriously' attitude about it. With the other strips, one could be forgiven for thinking we were just along for the ride. This strip looks more like it means business. Lets hope some of that rubs off onto the players wearing it.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Which Full Members are doing their Bit to help the Associates?

There has been some talk of which Full member teams are doing/not doing their bit for the Associates. This is my take on it.
Teams actually PLAYING Associates between now and Feb next year (i.e doing their bit):
Zimbabwe: 7 matches. Bangladesh: 6 matches. Sri Lanka: 2 matches .England: 1 match. Pakistan: 1 match.
'A' Teams PLAYING associates, bear with me if I have missed some. (i.e could do better):
England (ish). Pakistan. India. West Indies.
Teams HOSTING Associates, but not playing them (i.e could do a lot better):
South Africa.
Teams doing jack all to help the minnows, but concentrating on themselves only (i.e so much for a fair go for all; very poor effort):
Australia. New Zealand.
Plenty of excuses are offered as to why 'so and so' can't/won't play the Associates. As far as I'm concerned, they are just that - excuses. If the National team is busy, send an 'A'-team or invite an Associate to tour against the county/provincial/state sides. Zimabwe and Bangladesh may have been bullied into it by the ICC, but at least they are playing the Associates. That is the only way the Associates will rise to the level of the Full Members.
Cross posted on Big Cricket. Awards

Taking the long-term view that when my web page (official, or unofficial) is up and running, it will be a success, I am setting up an awards system for the best Kenyan players of the year. I will run one competition for ODIs and one for the Intercontinental Cup. Combining the two will give the Cricketer of the Year.
At the moment, the prizes will simply be recognition of the player's efforts, but I will be looking for a sponsor for this, so hopefully they can be presented with something more.

I am going to allocate Primary points for each match as follows:

3 pts for best performance, 2 for the next best, and 1 to any other player that, in my opinion, has had a positive impact. Mostly, I will try to restrict the total points from me to 6 unless there are a couple of players who I feel really deserve a mention.

If a Kenyan player wins the official Man of the Match, he will get an extra 2 points.

I will run a poll on the site for each match, and allocate 6 points, based on a percentage of votes, with a maximum of 3 per player. For the current series, this is one poll over the tour, but from Bangladesh onwards, will be one poll per game.

It could end there, and remain unofficial. I have however invited Cricket Kenya to allocate points per match on the same basis that I do.

I will also be contacting the following newspapers to see if they are interested: Nation, Standard, Kenya Times, Coastweek (if you have any other suggestions on media that cover kenyan cricket, let me know). If they are agreeable, their combined votes will contribute to a separate primary score (3,2,1).

The primary votes (, Man of the Match, Public, Cricket Kenya? Media?) will then be tallied and a final, Secondary score given for each match based on the total of Primary votes:

3 pts for highest numer of Primary pts.
2 pts for the next highest.
1 point for the third highest.
In the event of a tie, both players will recieve equal points.
An official 'Man of the series' earns a bonus Secondary point.

At the end of the year, the player with the highest Secondary Total wins that category.
The Kenyan Cricketer of the year would be a total from both competitions.

I would also like to have a 'Domestic Cricketer' of the year, but this can only happen if the NPCA and CCA will communicate with me.

Once is up and running, I will keep a running tally, so that everything is shown to be transparent and above board.

I have based this on the system the Australians use for the Allan Border Medal - one of the goals every Australian cricketer aspires to achieve. I have not decided on a name (it may depend on sponsorship), and am open to suggestions on this as well.
If you think this is a good idea, please back the players, and vote. Cheers.

Odoyo Named Man Of The Series

Well, with rain having the final say in Harare, what promised to be a lively showdown was sadly cut short before a ball could be bowled. An unfortunate turn of events, but there is not much that can be done about the weather, so we just have to live with it.

Good news from yesterday was that Thomas Odoyo was named man of the series, for his 8 wickets at an average of 16.25, and his 102 runs, including one half-century, with the bat. A sterling performance from the all-rounder, and he should feel proud of his effort. Congratulations Thomas.

Press Freedom: Letter to Kibaki

Dear President Kibaki:

On March 2, 2006 government forces raided the headquarters and printing plant of the Standard Group. In addition to destroying equipment and newspapers, they shut down the KTN news station.This latest attack follows the jailing of three journalists from Standard Newspaper, attacks on Citizen Weekly, and ongoing harassment of journalists by government-sponsored forces.

I urge you to condemn these attacks and to support freedom of the press.

Apologies to cricket fans, but this is something that any blog relating to Kenya should have published - I am already remiss for taking a couple of days to do so. Original idea from Keguro.

Today's NPCA Matches

Its that time of the week again, and here are the fixtures for the NPCA 45-over group stage:

Group A:
Union versus Parklands S C Ndovus at Simba Union
S C L Y L versus Oshwal XI at Pindolia Academy
Kanbis 'A' versus Kanbis 'B' at Eastleigh

Group B:
Ngara versus Parklands S C Rhinos at Ngara
Ruaraka versus Sir Ali at Ruaraka
Swamibapa 'A' versus Premier Club at Premier Club

Group C:
Sir Ali 'B' versus Khrishna XI at Sir Ali
Kongonis versus Qutbis at Nbi Club
Nbi Jaffery versus Swamibapa 'B' at Nbi Jafferys

Group D:
Nbi Gymkhana versus Nbi Institute at Nbi Gymkhana
Golden XI versus Stray Lions at Highridge Pr School
Aga Khan S C versus Nbi Nookers Aga Khan

I wish I could give more of a preview of the matches and the current standings, but until the NPCA resume communications, this is impossible. I will keep trying for results from them and also from the CCA, who have been equally reticent.