Friday, March 17, 2006
Other reports regarding the pitch, and the starting line up also seem to be doing the rounds. Most people think it will be a slow pitch, but nothing official on this yet, so we will see. Again, there a few different starting line ups being touted, but nothing concrete yet.
Here are some links to places that may be running ball by ball updates:
Tiger Cricket (Official Bangladesh Site).
ECB - England and Wales Cricket Board - they covered the Zimbabwe series, so will probably cover the Bangladesh matches as well.
Cricinfo - So far, no link for the match on their site, but it would surprise me if there isn't one by the time the game starts.
Bangla Cricket also have a match thread with comments on the match by fans.
I will of course try to post on the match as soon as I can, in the meantime, hope at least one of the above sites has a good live feed.
"We are really hungry to play international cricket. We have had very little opportunities to play international games since our commendable performance in the last World Cup. We are hoping that our lack of exposure would be taken under consideration by the world cricket governing body," Steve Tikolo. Daily Star
"Our captain knows the condition and the players and I believe it will help us. You will recognise some young faces. What impressed me most is the enthusiasm among the cricketers about the tour. We came here to play good and competitive cricket." Kenya Coach, Roger Harper. Cricinfo
"Although the record is in favor of Kenya, we have been playing good cricket - we recently beat strong teams like Australia, India and Sri Lanka in one-day internationals," Bangladesh Captain, Habibul Bashar. BBC
"Once we were close rivals of Bangladesh in any competition. But this time Bangladesh are favourites. We're going to start as the underdogs but we are fully prepared to give good fight." Steve Tikolo. Cricinfo
"He has the fast bowler's attitude. It's priceless. He is an exciting prospect for us and we all recognise that. I just pray that he keeps clear of injuries so that we can have him and Mashrafe [bin Mortuza] bowling together. With [Syed] Rasel also bowling extremely well at the moment, the Bangladesh pace attack could become very potent indeed." Habibul Bashar on Shahadat Hossain, one of the Bangladesh players who could prove a handful for the Kenyan batsmen. Cricinfo
"Bangladesh should win this series at a canter, and their performances in the just-finished series at home to Sri Lanka will have further boosted their burgeoning confidence." Martin williamson. Cricinfo
"They are a good team but I am not considering the strength of the opposition. If we are to make a habit of winning, this is the time to go for it," Bangladesh Coach Dav Whatmore. Daily Star
Thursday, March 16, 2006
- To qualify for the Champions Trophy (CT), a team must be ranked in the top 10 according to the LG ICC rankings as of April 1st 2006.
- Bangladesh are currently the 10th ranked team. Kenya need to get ahead of them to qualify for CT '06.
- Currently Kenya are not ranked as they have not played enough games.
- The Kendrix Report (was available on the ICC's web page earlier, but I can no longer find it), includes a recommendation on the criteria for a team to move from stage II (having a rating, but no ranking) to Stage III (having a rating, and a ranking):
"My recommendation is that for a team to be ranked, it should have completed at least ten rated ODIs during the period covered by the ratings, i.e. the past 2-3 years. "
- Kenya has to date played SIX ODI's in this ratings period. Two in CT '04, and four just recently in Zimbabwe.
- To attain a rating, the Associate must have won at least two of these ten matches. Kenya did that in Zimbabwe.
- Again from the Kendrix Report
"A team, having fulfilled the promotion criteria, will immediately receive a rating, but may then need to play further ODIs in order to achieve a full ranking. However, if at the time of its promotion, it has already played at least ten qualifying matches against teams that at the time were themselves rated, they would proceed straight to a ranking and thus bypass stage II."
- According to this, on completion of the 4th ODI against Bangladesh, Kenya will have a ranking, as all the criteria have been filled.
- There is an ICC meeting coming up next week in which they will decide how many matches Kenya need to have played to qualify for a ranking. This is an excerpt from their website (full story here):
"Kenya are yet to play the minimum number of matches required to earn themselves a place on the LG ICC ODI Championship table - that number will be determined at next week's ICC Executive Board meeting in Dubai - but if it is decided it should be eight then their four matches in Bangladesh will take them over that threshold.
If that is the case then Kenya could qualify for the Champions Trophy ahead of Bangladesh unless the home side wins their series by at least two clear matches (for example, by 3-1)."
- Going into the series, Bangladesh have 17 poins, Kenya have 37. Assuming that all four matches are completed, three results would see Kenya finish with a higher Rating and therefore Ranking than Bangladesh: 4-0 to Kenya, 3-1 to Kenya, or a 2-2 draw. If Bangladesh win the series, they leapfrog us on the table.
Note that the ICC website only recognises the matches Kenya have played this year. To my reading, that goes against both the system used for ranking teams, and against the recommendation made in the Kendrix Report.
It is a fairly complicated scenario, and it is to some extent left up to the ICC as to whether Kenya will qualify for the CT or not. My reading, based on their website, and on earlier articles is they may well decide that 8 matches suffice, and so it will be down to the series result. I believe that this is unneccessary intervention, as going by the Kendrix recommendation, Kenya will have PLAYED 10 matches in the last 2 years anyway. Again, it would then be down to the series result.
My conclusion: If Kenya can win two of the four matches in Bangladesh, we will qualify for a place in CT '06, unless some sort of skullduggery goes on. It is a huge ask, but certainly possible. Again, this will put pressure on Bangladesh. They are expected whitewash Kenya and to go to the CT by almost everyone connected with cricket. If Kenya even look like getting in their way, I would not want to be a Bangladesh team member - the fans will go nuts, the World press will go nuts and the BCCI will probably go bananas. As for me? I'll have a banana sundae with nut sprinkle and pray that the ICC gives us a fair go.
- Kennedy Otieno(wkt). A no-brainer really. He has made this spot his own, and showed good form in Zimbabwe. With better pitches in Bangladesh, hopefully Kennedy can add to his haul of ODI Centuries tomorrow. His glove work has also reportedly improved heaps since the stint with Rod Marsh, so while they have seen him before, his improvement may give Bangladesh a bit of a surprise.
- Tanmay Mishra. He opens in the domestic comp, and he is one of the youngsters who really looks like he can step up to the level we need. this is a problem spot for Kenya, and I think Mishra deserves a chance. It is a lot better than wasting his talent down the order.
- Hitesh Modi. Great to see him back in the side. He can be a bit slow to score at times, but he has the experience to overcome that if needed. He also knows what it feels like to beat Bangladesh.
- Steve Tikolo(cpt). Could be key to Kenya's chances. He narrowly missed out on a century in Zimbabwe, lets hope he can make at least one in Bangladesh. His spin will also come in handy for the middle overs. I would like to see him bowl more than he did in Zimbabwe, especially as he should know the opposition weaknesses.
- Thomas Odoyo(v.cpt). Showed form with the bat in Zimbabwe, and we need this to continue in Bangladesh. I believe he is capable of an ODI Century, lets hope that he can do it this series. Will be key for Kenya with the ball. If he can make inroads at the top of the Bangladesh innings, that will heap the pressure on their middle order.
- Maurice Ouma. I know he didn't perform in Zimbabwe, but he has the talent to do well. He may find it easier to play his strokes lower down the order.
- Kalpesh Patel. Missed out in Zimbabwe, and thouroughly deserves his chance. Will add depth to the batting, as well as giving a genuine swing option to Tikolo. One of the best fielders in the side.
- Jimmy Kamande. Showed great spirit with the bat on the last tour, and will give Tikolo an extra spin option if the pitch warrants it. He is also a great fielder. If it is more of a seamers pitch, Tony Suji might be a better choice here.
- Collins Obuya. On the proviso that he has regained his form. If he has, he could potentially terrorise the Bangladeshis with his leg spin. If he is still a bit wobbly, then I would have Tony Suji here instead.
- Peter Ongondo. In great form in Zimbabwe where he took the most wickets of the series. This will be tougher competition however, but he should be able to step up.
- Martin Suji. Excellent to have a tight strike bowler back in the side. Many of Thomas Odoyo's wickets have been helped by Suji in the past, and the resumption of their bowling partnership is great news for Kenya.
12th man/Super Sub: If this is to be used, then whoever misses out on the number 8 spot out of Kamande and Suji.
In related news, it appears that Bangladesh's captain may have to miss the match due to his mother being in hospital. We wish her well, and a speedy recovery.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
On the back of the announcement about Kenya 'A' touring Denmark comes a second major coup for Cricket Kenya. Samir Inamdar writes to inform me that:
"We have finalised a tour by an Australian representative team, the Commonwealth Bank Centre of Excellence."
Inamdar believes that, aside from the opportunity to learn from players of the calibre we will be facing,
These two tours are a fantastic step in the right direction, and illustrate how hard Cricket Kenya are working to get everything back on track again. There is still much to do, including putting together a meaningful domestic competition at a national level, and also organising the junior structure, but the signs are there that the neccessary work is being done. Congratulations to Cricket Kenya, and keep up the good work!
This tour is to be commended for several reasons. It will give much needed exposure to Kenya's 'A' team, which has been sadly lacking over the past few years. Serving as a feeder for the national side, this will mean that younger players get a chance to play competitive cricket before being thrust into the pressure of full ODIs. Denmark will also benefit from this, as their national side and club cricketers also receive exposure at a higher level. Kenya is one of the leading Associates, and tours like this should help shame the Test nations into offering similar support to lower ranked teams. Finally, it is a shining example of generosity, and what one man can do. Torben Noehr I salute you.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Monday, March 13, 2006
Why am I posting on this here? First, it is a phenomenal achievement from both batting line-ups. To get past 400 is a huge milestone, and both teams did what no one else has so far done convincingly. This would not be a self respecting cricket site if I didn't give it the recognition it is due. Second, it relegates to third place, what had been an embarrassing record for Kenya: conceding the most runs in a match. Previously, the record stood at 398, conceded by Kenya at the hands of Sri Lanka in 1996. After yesterdays performances, and what is already being dubbed 'the greatest match of all', Kenya no longer holds this unwanted title. India hate to be outdone in cricket, and with their line-up would be a good pick for the next team to reach 400, and Australia will want to remove their name from this record too. Soon, Kandy and 1996 will be but a hazy memory. Excellent news for cricket, and excellent news for Kenyan pride.
Akshar B won the toss and decided to bat on a wicket holding a lot of overnight moisture. V.O.C capitalised with some great Left arm In swinging yorkers by Batuk and a hostile Right arm spell from Ketan, both of whom finished with 4 wickets for the innings. A late fightback from Dipesh and Marvin gave Akshar some respectability, but in the end they were all out for 111. In reply, Ravi gave V.O.C no shortage of trouble, also taking 4 wickets, but Akshar gave away far too many extras to defend a small total, and V.O.C reached the target with 4 wickets still remaining.
Askar 'B' Innings:
Sunil………………..Ct Naren B Batuk…24
Samrat…………….Ct Kirti B Batuk ….00
Raju ( Menen)….Ct Naren B Ketan…05
Marvin……………..St. Ketan B Shanti.29
Naren………………Run Out /Jaimin…..15
Kirti…………………St Ravi B Vipul…….23
Total for 6 wickets………………..115
VOC Won by 4 wickets
Points for the match:
1 batting point, 2 bowling points.
Total points: 3
1 batting point, 4 bowling points, 12 points for win.
Total points: 17
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Steve Tikolo on 402pts, who has moved up 12 places to 82nd (his best was 535 in 1999)
Kennedy Otieno on 369. He comes back into the top 100 at 94th place (his best 461 pts in 1997).
And just sneaking in, Thomas Odoyo in equal 99th spot with 374 pts (his best 455 in 2001).
Kenya's bowlers rank slightly higher:
63rd Thomas Odoyo on 448 pts. Up 13 places. (his best is 493 in 1999).
79th Peter Ongondo on 387 - this is a career highest after his sterling performance in Zimbabwe.
91st Steve Tikolo on 340 (his best 398 in 2003).
These places may not mean a great deal at present, but they will be an indicator of how the Kenyan team improve over the next year. Hopefully, the Bangladesh series will raise the existing players higher on the list, and maybe even bring in a couple of new names. It would be great to see Collins Obuya get back on, and maybe Tanmay Mishra with the bat.
Overall, Kenya holds a 6-1 advantage in terms of ODI wins, and they have also won the most recent meeting between the two countries. Sounds good doesn't it? The problem is, that last match was way back in 2003, during that wonderful couple of weeks where we made the World sit up and take notice as we qualified for the World Cup Semi Finals. Since then, Kenya have played a grand total of 6 ODIs, 4 of which were in the recent Zimbabwe tour. Effectively, Kenya has been out of International cricket for 2 years. In that time, Bangladesh have improved in leaps and bounds. They have now won ODIs against both Australia, and just recently Sri Lanka. They have been playing Test cricket, even winning their first ever match. So what if it was Zimbabwe; doesn't matter, it is still a Test win. They have an active national domestic league. The team we face over the next four matches is a very different one from the one we beat at the World Cup. Oh, and they will be playing at home. Most Bangladesh supporters seem to think Bangladesh will whitewash us, and several journalists around the World have expressed similar beliefs.
Now that any semblance of overconfidence should be well and truly shredded, lets have a look at what might happen from a Kenyan point of view. Some things should be considered about this series that I don't think everyone who has commented so far has taken into account.
First is that our captain Steve Tikolo, plays his club cricket as a professional in Bangladesh. Not only does he know the strengths and weaknesses of their players, he was also one of the leading batsmen in their last season. He thinks Kenya will win a couple of matches at least. It would be a fool who takes his words lightly.
Second, Kenya always raise their game against Bangladesh. I don't know how or why this happens, but we seem to hold them in the same light that the Aussies and England hold each other - they are enemy No.1, and we will put in great efforts to beat them.
Third, we love being the underdogs and past history notwithstanding, in the eyes of the rest of the World, that is exactly what we are this series.
Fourth, Bangladesh have it all to lose: Test credibility, their position in the top 10 on the ICC table, their place in the first round of the Champions Trophy, you name it. Kenya have nothing to lose. We are not expected to win this series, many don't even expect us to be able to compete. If we win a match, we will put the heebie-jeebies on Bangladesh. Win two, and all sorts of questions are going to be asked of them. Pressure on the Bangladesh team will be immense. From their board, their fans, the rest of the cricket World, and of course our players. If I was neutral, and had to pick a team to play for this series, it would sure as hell not be the Tigers.
All the above being said, I think the cricket will be riveting. Bangladesh have a lot more talent than we are used to seeing from them, and Kenya are a better outfit than most give credit for. Both teams have potential match winners in their ranks, but both teams also have the capability to implode. Indeed, this may end up being the decider between the sides. If Bangladesh can withstand the pressure, they are going to be a very hard team to beat on home soil. If they let it get to them, or someone like Tikolo or Odoyo truly fires for Kenya, we could make it a very uncomfortable time for our hosts. Let's hope that the cobwebs were blown away in Zimbabwe and that it will be the latter. My prediction for the series? I would love to go with my heart and say 3-1 to Kenya, but realistically I will plump for a hard fought 2-2.