Saturday, July 01, 2006

Kenya A Vs. Denmark 30/06/06: Kenyan Run Chase

Kenya A suffer an early setback in their run chase. After 4 overs, we have already lost the first wicket with only 12 on the board. Once again, the opener's spot seems to be causing some bother. Still, there is a long way to go in the inings, so hopefully we will get things together.
Kenya 1/12. Run Rate: 3. Required Run rate 4.6
Update 8 Overs.
Kenya's top order batting woes seem to be continuing. A second wicket down, and only a further 8 runs to show for it. This is about as far away from a good start as we could get.
Kenya 2/20. Run rate 2.5. Required run rate 4.8
Update. 11 Overs.
Oh dear, Oh dear. Things are going from bad to worse. A third wicket down, and still only 30 on the board. Right about now that total is beginning to look a long way away. What we need now is for a couple of the lads to settle down, and grit out an innings. We need to rebuild, consolidate, then launch later.
Kenya 3/30. Run rate 2.7. Required run rate 4.9
Update. 13 Overs.
Guess what? Surprise surprise, another Kenyan wicket. It looks rather like someone has tried to blast their way out of trouble rather than consolidating. 15 runs added, but the loss of the wicket is the problem. Unless someone stops this procession, I will end up getting to bed at a normal hour after all. Oddly enough, I would prefer to continue my sleep deprivation.
Kenya 4/45. Run rate 3.5. Required run rate 4.8.
Update 14 Overs.
Sometimes words simply do not suffice.
Swinging the bat is not going to A) win us the match. B) Get us to a respectable total. C) Make me a happy little vegemite.
Kenya 5/54. Run rate 3.9. Required run rate 4.7
Update 17 Overs.
At last something good to report. No more wickets in the last three overs which certainly comes as somewhat of a relief. The score has also been pushed on by 18 runs. Hopefully the shots being played are at the bad balls. We really cannot afford any more wickets down for quite a while.
Kenya 5/72. Run rate 4.2. Required run rate 4.7.
Update 21 Overs.
Well, that didn't last long. 16 more runs to the total, but two more wickets. If we are lucky, we may even get to within 100 runs of Denmark's total. This has been a really poor performance from Kenya with the bat, after a decent effort in the field. I only hope that we can do something soon to teach our young players how to build an innings. More than ever, this match illustrates the need for a domestic competition in the longer version of the game. Let's hope we get some news on this front, and on youth development soon. A full schedule for the national and a teams is all well and good, but we need to be able to produce players that are going to be competetive. This must start at domestic level, and it must start soon. Yesterday was already to late.
Kenya 7/88. Run rate 4.2. Required run rate 4.6
Update. 27 Overs.
Kenya's challenge now is to try and bat out the overs. As another wicket has gone down, even this is looking like a bridge too far. At least we have managed to scrape past the 100 mark, but this effort is going to win no admirers at all.
Kenya 8/103. Run rate 3.8. Required run rate 5.2
Update. 29 Overs.
Well, at least the torture is almost over. 9/106 and this is looking like a defeat of over 100 runs. Kenya A will have one night to regroup and think about how they can avoid a similar fate tomorrow.
A couple of simple words might help:
Patience. Graft. Consolidate. Concentrate. Partnership.
109 All Out. We only managed to bat out 31 of the 50 available overs. Against a team ranked 8 places below us by the ICC. True, it is our A team, and true the tour is there to give youngsters experience, but in a couple of years, we have to expect these players to be holding up the honour of our national side. Right about now, that is not a thought that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. There is obviously a very long way to go. Losing by 113 runs is a very heavy defeat, but the team need to put today behind them and get a good night's rest. This is one of the things touring is all about, and they cannot let today get in the way of a better performance tomorrow. I shall do the same. Right now, it is about 2am, and I'm feeling a bit short changed that I stayed up. That will not stop me doing it in future, or hoping and praying that the boys will do well next time they take the field. After all, tomorrow is another day...

Friday, June 30, 2006

Modi In Action For MCC

While Kenya A are doing battle with Denmark, Hitesh Modi is also getting a tast of our Associate rivals as the MCC take on The Netherlands today. Essentially selected as a batsman, Hitesh did get three overs with the ball, but was on the expensive side conceding 20 runs, and not taking a wicket.
His real chance to strut his stuff should come during the run chase where he comes in at second drop for the tourists. With the Dutch having set MCC 266 to win, he will get ample opportunity to make his mark. Here's hoping he is able to get a good score on the board against a Dutch team that he last frustrated by batting with a broken finger to save the Intercontinental Cup match against them a couple of months ago.
Hitesh Modi has just been bowled by Jonkman for 21 off 39 balls. His score included 2 boundaries. A shame to be out after making a solid start. Still, good to see him playing again - it will no doubt take some time to regain his form completely. Hopefully he will play more matches during the rest of the tour.

Kenya A Vs. Denmark 30/06/06: Denmark Innings

From the little snippet on Cricket Europe (so far the only news I have found on the game), it looks like Denmark are batting first and are 3/90 after 22 Overs. Freddie Klokker, Denmark's main batsman is playing, and is looking dangerous on 44 not out. No news on who has taken the wickets so far.
UPDATE: 25 Overs.
Only 5 runs scored by Denmark in the last three overs, and Kenya A have another wicket (still don't know who from). Klokker is still there, and two runs closer to his fifty on 46*.
Denmark 4/95. Run rate 3.8.
UPDATE: 28 Overs.
Three good overs from the Danes take the score to 114, but whoever the batsman was who made most of the runs (Klokker is still on 48*), he is now out and Denmark are 5 wickets down. This match is developing into quite a contest so far. With 5 batsmen back in the pavilion already, Kenya are nearly into the tail, but with Klokker still there, the Danes will feel they still have a good chance to post a defendable target.
Denmark 5/114. Run rate 4.1.
Update: 34 Overs.
Klokker is still there and looking dangerous. He now has his fifty, and is unbeaten on 58. Only 10 runs coming off the last six overs though, so Kenya A have the brakes working well.
Denmark 5/124. Run rate 3.6.
Update 40 Overs.
A steadier 5 overs from Denmark with Klokker combining well with Hamad Zamann to take the score along at 5 an over. Zamann is however now out for 25 leaving Denmark on 6/154. Still no report on the bowling figures. Kenya A really need to get Freddy Klokker's wicket as he is the one holding Denmark's innings together. Still, there are only 4 wickets in hand now for the Danes which should help restrict them during the last 10 overs.
Denmark 6/154 (Klokker 66*). Run rate 3.85.
Update 45 Overs.
Klokker moves on to 83. He is really beginning to push the run rate along now - the last five overs going for 33 runs - just over a-run-a-ball. No further wickets for Kenya A, which is disappointing. Denmark looking to get around the 220 mark if they keep this run rate up.
Denmark 6/187. Run rate 4.1.
Update 48 Overs.
Klokker is only 4 away from another international century. He is certainly proving himself to be a handful against the othe Associates. Good for Denmark, but not so good for Kenya A for failing to remove him. The good news is that although Denmark are now past the 200 mark, we at least have another wicket to show for it. The run rate continues to creep up however, and it looks like we will be chasing 230 or there abouts.
Denmark 7/210. Run rate 4.4.
Update 50 Overs.
Finally, Klokker is removed, but not before he reaches his century (104) and helps Denmark to a respectable 222 (Where is Richie Benaud when you need him). It will be interesting to see how Kenya A go about chasing this. It does not look too daunting a target, only requiring 4.5 runs an over to win, but I don't know the conditions, so it may turn out to be a very decent total. At a guess though, I would say that where one batsman can get a big score, so others should be able to as well. Kenya A have come under some criticism recently for their batting. In the Atul shah tournament, they struggled against spin, and during the Jutland leg of the Denmark tour, they have been accused of showing a weakness against inswingers. No doubt they will get a fair bit of both during the next 50 overs. Hopefully, the two form players of the tour so far, Mishra and Malhar Patel will build on their good form, and maybe even inspire some of the others. It should be a fascinating run chase.

Kenya A take on Young Danes Today

Having found no news on the match scheduled yesterday between Kenya A and Denmark U23, I am assuming it was a casualty of the rejinked scheduling. Cricket Europe'preview of today's match between Kenay A and Denmark shows that it will be a young Danish side our boys will face today. Tomorrow will see the return of some of the main Denmark dangermen, so it will be interesting to see how we go in the two matches.

US$1M For Associate Qualifiers For WC 2011

A press release from outgoing ICC president Ehsan Mani has stated that the six Associate teams that qualify for the 2011 World Cup will each stand to gain US$ 1 million to consolidate the growth of cricket. Speaking to Cricinfo, Mani said in relation to improving the playing standard of the Associates:
"We are going to be spending a huge amount of money in trying to do this and we need to make sure it works"
Each of the top six Associates already get US$500 000 through qualifying for the next World Cup to use to improve their development, and should be favourites to qualify again through the ICC Trophy in the UAE in three years time. Mani said on the teams qualifies for the 2007 World Cup:
"The other very important thing is that we leave behind a legacy after the World Cup for these countries to continue to develop."
This is very welcome news for Kenya, and indeed all of the top Associates, and it means the ICC Trophy will be contested more fiercely than ever before. As the BBC rightly points out, youth development in these countries must now take absolute priority. All of the Associates are going to lose some players after this coming World Cup due to age, and Kenya are no exception. Indeed for Kenya, the situation is pressing as it will be the core of the team that will be nearing retirement. 5 players that have been the backbone of the team over the past decade are all 33 or over, and it is imperative that replacements are found before the qualifying tournament for 2011. Of the five, Ravindu Shah and Martin Suji are already almost certain casualties due to injury, and unfortunately need to be replaced as soon as possible. For the other three, there may yet be some time. Hitesh Modi, Steve Tikolo and Kennedy Otieno are all 34, so one would think that they may be considering this as their last World Cup. All three have proved invaluable with the bat in the past, and hopefully Cricket Kenya will manage their replacement sensibly. Tikolo is a player a class above anyone else from the Associate nations. He is still playing exceptionally well, and of the three is the most likely to still hold his place in the team come 2011. For Modi and Otieno, it will be interesting to see how long they decide to go on. Modi is now married and settled in England, and may find that in the long term, continual travel to Kenya and around the World to play cricket clashes with family commitments. There is no doubting his current desire to play for Kenya - his efforts with broken finger are proof enough of that, but 4 year is a long time when thinking about raising a family. Otieno has already had a run in with the selectors over his omission for the match against the Netherlands. Hopefully he will reconsider his threat to retire from international cricket, as I fell he still has a good couple of years left, and believe it will take at least that long before a suitable replacement is ready.
Cricket Kenya have already begun to take steps to ensure a good transition from domestic cricket to the national team through the introduction of a schedule for the A team. What they need to do now is put in place a strong domestic set up that will encourage kids to play the game, and give them the best chance to excell. It is only through doing this that we will be able to keep ahead of the ever improving Associate rivals and keep our share of the develpoment grant.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Kenya Fixtures and Results

Updated 2nd September 2006.
Not a good series by Kenya against Bangladesh, though the second game could have gone either way. Not a good start either vs the CBCE!
Added is the away tour of Uganda and the exact dates of the CBCE visit. Also the two ODIs vs Bermuda pencilled in for January (to replace those missed out on in Canada).
I will add dates for the Africa Cup in December when they are released. Kenya were due to host an Under 15's event at Greensteds School for the East and Central Africa Region in August, but no news on that nor the African Regional Women's World Cup Qualifiers in December 2006. Pencilled in also is a proposed tour by the MCC in February of next year and a tour by Sri Lanka A in October/November. Also in are the fixtures included in the FTA scheduled for 2008.
Format is:
Date - Venue. Type of match. Opposition. Result.

Feb 24th Bulaweyo. ODI. Zimbabwe. Lost by 8 wkts.

Feb 25th Bulaweyo. ODI. Zimbabwe. Won by 79 runs.

March 1st Harare. ODI. Zimbabwe. Won by 65 runs.

March 3rd Harare. ODI. Zimbabwe. Lost by 109 runs.

March 4th Harare. ODI. Zimbabwe. Match Abandoned.

March 17th Bangladesh. ODI. Bangladesh Lost by 131 runs.

March 20th Bangladesh. ODI. Bangladesh Lost by 9 wkts.

March 23rd Bangladesh. ODI. Bangladesh Lost by 20 runs.

March 25th Bangladesh. ODI. Bangladesh Lost by 7 wickets.

March 26th Nairobi. OD. Kenya 'A' vs. Holland Lost by 100 runs.

March 29th - Apr 1st Nairobi Gymkhana. I.C Holland. Match Drawn. Holland
take 1st innings points.

June 7th - MSC. Kenya A vs. Uganda. Lost By 3 Wickets.

June 7th - Coast Gymkhana. CCA vs. Tanzania. Won by 52 runs.

June 8th - MSC. Kenya A vs Tanzania. Won by 8 wickets.

June 8th - CG. CCA vs. Uganda. Lost By 71 Runs.

June 10th - MSC. Uganda vs. Tanzania. Uganda won by 6 wickets.

June 10th - CG. Kenya A vs. CCA. Kenya A won by 3 Wickets.

June 11th - MSC. Final: Kenya A vs. Uganda. Lost By 47 Runs.

June 11th - CG. Plate playoff. CCA vs. Tanzania. Lost By 22 Runs.

June 25th - Aalborg CC (Den). Kenya 'A' vs. Aalborg CC. Won by 111 Runs.

June 26th - Esbjerg CC (Den). Kenya 'A' vs. Esbjerg CC. Lost by 2 Wickets.

June 28th - Herning CC (Den). Kenya 'A' vs. Herning CC. Won by 3 wickets.

June 30th - Svanholm Park, National Danish Cricket Stadium. Kenya 'A' vs. Denmark. Lost by 113 Runs.

July 1st - Svanholm Park, National Danish Cricket Stadium. Kenya 'A' vs. Denmark. Lost by 7 Wickets.

July 3rd - Glostrup CC(Den). Kenya 'A' vs. Glostrup CC. Lost by 6 Wickets.

July 4th - Denmark. Kenya 'A' vs. Denmark Under 23. Won by 5 Wickets.

July 29th - Aug 1st Canada. I.C. Canada. Lost by 25 runs. Canada take full points.

Aug 5th - Canada. ODI. Canada. Won by 108 Runs.

Aug 6th - Canada. ODI. Canada. Won by 5 Wickets.

Aug 12th - Nairobi Gymkhana. ODI. Bangladesh. Lost by 6 Wickets.

Aug 13th - Nairobi Gymkhana. ODI. Bangladesh. Lost By 2 Wickets.

Aug 15th - Nairobi Gymkhana. ODI. Bangladesh. Lost by 6 Wickets.

Aug ? - Greensteds School, Rift Valley. East and Central Africa Under 15's tournament. Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda.

Aug 31st - Nairobi Gymkhana. One-day match. Commonwealth Bank Centre of Excellence. Lost by 10 Wickets.
Sept 2nd - Nairobi Gymkhana. One-day match. CBCE.
Sept 3rd - Nairobi Gymkhana. One-day match. CBCE.

Sept 23rd - Lugogo Oval, Kampala. OD match. Uganda.
Sept 24th - Lugogo Oval, Kampala. OD match. Uganda.
Sept 26th - Lugogo Oval, Kampala. OD match. Uganda.
Sept 29th to Oct 1st - Lugogo Oval, Kampala. 3-day match. Uganda.
Oct/Nov 2006 - Kenya?. Sri Lanka A tour. To Be Confirmed.

Nov 9th to 12th - Nairobi Gymkhana. I.C. Bermuda.

Nov 15th - Nairobi Gymkhana. ODI. Bermuda.
Nov 18th - Mombasa Sports Club. ODI. Bermuda.

Nov 19th - Mombasa Sports Club. ODI. Bermuda.

Dec 2006. South Africa. Africa Cup. (South Africa 'A', Zimbabwe 'A', Kenya, Uganda, Namibia & Tanzania). Details to come.

Dec 2006. Kenya. Africa Regional Women's World Cup Qualifiers.

Jan 2007 - Kenya. ODI. Bermuda. Date T.B.C

Jan 2007 - Kenya. ODI. Bermuda. Date T.B.C

Jan 2007 - Kenya. ODI. Scotland Dates T.B.C

Jan 2007 - Kenya. ODI. Scotland.

Jan 2007 - Kenya. ODI. Scotland.

Jan 2007 - Kenya. ODI. Scotland.

Jan 2007 - Kenya. ODI. Scotland

Jan 20th - Kenya. ODI. Scotland World Lge Div 1

Jan 21st - Kenya. ODI. Canada "

Jan 23rd - Kenya. ODI. Bermuda "

Jan 24th - Kenya. ODI. Ireland "

Jan 27th - Kenya. ODI. Holland "

Jan 28th - Kenya. ODI. ???? FINAL

Jan 31st - Kenya. ODI. Ireland

Feb 1st - Kenya. ODI. Holland

Feb 2007 - Kenya. Proposed tour by MCC.

Mar 5th - Jamaica. ODI. West Indies W.C warm up

Mar 8th - Jamaica. ODI. Holland W.C warm up

Mar 14th - St.Lucia. ODI. Canada W.C Grp C

Mar 20th - St.Lucia. ODI. New Zealand W.C Grp C

Mar 24th - St.Lucia. ODI. England W.C Grp C

May 2008 - South Africa. Tri series (RSA, Kenya, Scotland).

June 2008 - Scotland. Tri Series (Scotland, Kenya, New Zealand).

Kenya A Back To Winning Ways Against Herning

After losing their second match of the tour to Denmark to Esbjerg on Monday, Kenya A bounced back with a win against Division 1 side Herning yesterday. While it was always expected that the Kenyan team should win this match, converting that into a result was important, especially after the slip up in the previous game.
Herning batted first and, despite 45 from Christiansen, were all out for 136 two overs short of the allotted 35. Nehemiah Odhiambo was the pick of the Kenyan bowling taking 3/27.
Kenya A were a little less than convincing in pursuit of the total with Herning bowler Hedegaard taking a miserly 4/12. Two batsmen stood up however and made sure of Kenya's victory with 3 wickets and just under 3 overs remaining. Tanmay Mishra followed up his 42 against Aalborg with a top score of 60, and Malhar Patel also kept up his momentum from the game against Esbjerg scoring an unbeaten 40 to see the tourists home. He had stood out in the last match with 76 off 73 balls, and is doing his claim for a place in the national side no harm at all so far this tour.
While this was a match against weaker opposition, and is still only a warm up to the weekend's games against Denmark, it is great to see things beginning to click into place. Two batsmen making decent scores is a great improvement, and hopefully it will give confidence to the others in the team to follow suit. Odhiambo and Luseno both seem to have had good bowling stints in the warm up games, so should be nicely in the mood for taking more wickets when they face Denmark.
According to the Denmark fixtures list on Cricket Europe, Kenya A take on the Danish Under 23 side today before the main matches against the full national side tomorrow and Saturday. This is certainly a demanding tour for the youngsters, but it is now time to really show what they are made of. Today's match is a must win for Kenya if we are to convince the rest of the World that there is a bright future for Kenyan cricket. The two matches against Denmark are also important to gauge our standard against the depth of the other Associates. Denmark comprehensively defeated The Netherlands A before having the favour returned by the full Dutch team. A good couple of performances against them will show that we are at least stronger in depth than the Dutch.
All the best to the team, and here's looking forward to more red in the Results column.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

ICC Inspect Kenya's Pitches

According to Cricinfo, Mike Proctor, an ICC match referee has arrived in Kenya to inspect facilities before the upcoming series against Bangladesh. The article says that Proctor is due to tour five venues in Nairobi plus the Mombasa Sports Club. Only Gymkhana is mentioned of the Nairobi grounds, but I would expect the others to be: Aga Khan, Sir Ali Muslim, Simba Union and Nairobi Club.
It is no secret that Kenya's pitches need to be improved after the lack of interest shown under the KCA. I do feel however that it is unfair to say that Harper "criticised the local administration for doing little to improve the facilities." True he said they needed to be improved, and that Kenya can not rely on talent alone, but he did not voice this as a criticism of the administration, rather as a step that needed to be taken to improve the situation. There is a distinct difference.
It is not as though Cricket Kenya are unaware of the situation. The cricinfo article itself quotes Samir Inamdar as saying:
"We need to have many of our facilities upgraded for official ODIs"
This acknowlegement is a refreshing change from the status quo in Kenya which was often to deny any problem despite the obvious. I agree with Harper - to produce top quality players, we need to have top quality facilities. This does however take time, and Cricket Kenya can certainly not be criticised for sitting back and not doing anything. It will be interesting to see what Proctor decides about the grounds he inspects, and then what action Cricket Kenya will take. Hopefully improvement of the facilities is something that the ICC could help with, at least in terms of expertise.
Kenya is due to host quite a number of matches in the coming year, and it is imperative that our facilities are brought in line with International standards. Firstly as a reflection on Kenya, and secondly because teams are more likely to agree to tour if they know they will be playing on a decent surface.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Overseas Roundup

It is a busy time for the players overseas at the moment. Hitesh Modi has been selected to play for the MCC during their tour of Holland, though did not play in their win over the Dutch Under 23 side. He did however play on Saturday for club side Chesham, but did not have a great day with the bat only scoring 8. He made up for it by taking a couple of wickets to finish with bowling figures of 2/46 off 11 in his sides draw with Teddington.
James Clegg also had a mixed weekend with the bat scoring only 5 in their league match against Garforth PC, but coming home stronger with 33 in their twenty-20 semi final on Sunday where the highlight of the day had to be the 27 ball 106 scored by Caribbeans Invitational player Adam Rayner. Now that would have been something to see.
Amit Bhudia has linked up with the Kenya a team in Denmark, and was second highest scorer for the side with 21 against Esbjerg. Hope to see more from him in the next couple of matches.
Finally, Subhash Modi is representing Kenya today when he stands as umpire in Scotlands ODI against Pakistan. All the best to him for this, I'm sure he will do Kenya proud.

Kenya A Go Down To Esbjerg

After a good start to their tour of Denmark, Kenya A faltered yesterday at the second hurdle going down to Esbjerg CC by 2 wickets. Kenya A batted first, and once again there is cause for concern. Only onle player registered a decent score - Malhar Patel, who scored a very credibly 76 off 73 balls. Amit Bhudia made 21, but Kenya's other batsmen did not unfortunately come to the party, and we were bowled out for 162 in 36 of the allotted 40 overs.
In reply, Kenya A did take early wickets, and that is heartening, but Esbjerg still managed to scrape home in the 36th over thanks to a defiant H Zaman (57 not out) aided by J Mikkelsen (27 not out). Cricket Europe had no bowling figures or full scorecard up as yet.
After a good start to the tour, this loss was a disappointment for the team, but these matches are merely warm ups, and it will be the two big games against Denmark that determine the success of the tour. On the positive side, it is great to see Malhar Patel getting into form. Hopefully, Kenya can now start to build some partnerships rather than relying on one batsman to always get the runs.
Kenya A have another warm up match today vs Herning which they should win easily, before traveling to Copenhagen to prepare for the two matches against Denmark.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Luseno Skittles Aalborg

Kenya A got their tour of Denmark off to a victorious start yesterday by defeating Elite Division side Aalborg by a comfortable 111 runs. Batting first, Kenya A were all out in their alloted 40 overs, posting a respectable score of 197. Tanmay Mishra top scored for the tourists with 42, and it is great to see him getting back to form. A shame that he was out in the 40s again though - hopefully we shall see him start to convert some of these starts into big scores soon. Other contributors of note were Timothy Muange with 24 and a useful 26 from Nehemiah Odhiambo, usually better known for his bowling. Aalborg's best performance with the ball came from Dean Blanch with 4/37.
Aalborg's reply was never allowed to get off the ground, as a rejuvenated Alfred Luseno carved through the home side taking 4 wickets for 9 runs. Lasse Fromberg fought his way to 33, but the rest of the batsmen capitulated and Aalborg finished on 86 all out. I do not know who the other wicket takers were for Kenya, but it is good to see Luseno finally start to live up to his potential.
This was a good result for the young side, but let's not get too carried away. Two of the players Kenya really want to prove they have what it takes stepped up and performed admirably, but it is still very early days. Aalborg are currently bottom of the Elite Division, and as such cannot be counted as the best of opposition. Today's match against Esbjerg should provide a slightly sterner test, but it will not be until Saturday when the team take on Denmark that they should really come up against stiff opposition. In the meantime, they need to continue to use the warm up games to get into their stride and get used to winning ways.

Modi To Umpire Scotland vs. Pakistan

For regular readers of the Forum, you may already be aware that Subhash Modi has been appointed a member of the Associate and Affiliate International Umpires Panel (ICC press release). While this had been known for a while, it only became official yesterday, so congratulations to Subhash for this. The panel was chosen based on the umpire's performances over the past year, and all credit to Modi for being one of the six umpires selected.
He is straight into the action tomorrow, when Scotland host Pakistan in their first ODI this year. We wish him all the best and are confident that he will do Kenya proud.

Akshar League Standings After 13 Matches


Kenya A Start Well Despite Nightmare Journey

Kenya A's tour to Denmark did not get off to a good start. The youngsters missed their connection to Cop from Ams, leaving them with a 20 hour wait for another flight. Their luggage was also left behind containing all their kit. Once again the tour sponsor, Torben Noehr, stepped in and supplied the team with a whole new strip so they could take to the field for their first match. He has shown himself to be an incredibly generous man, and cannot be thanked enough for the help he has given Kenya in arranging this tour.
Danish authorities also resheduled some of the matches at short notice to accomodate Sunday's local club league fixtures. This is disappointing - those fixtures have been in place for a while now, as has the tour. It should not have been left to the last minute to re-arrange things. Still, the important thing is that Kenya A have arrived, and are playing cricket. The new fixtures are yesterday vs Aalborg, today vs Esberg, Herning on Wednesday, then off to Copenhagen to play Denmark on Saturday and Sunday. An even tougher schedule than they had initially, but it seems they are aquitting themselves well. Batting first against Aalborg, they managed 192 in their allotted 40 overs. In reply, the bowlers had Aalborg in all sorts of trouble at 6/45. No further details yet on who got the runs/wickets or how the game ended. I'm assuming that we went on to win comfortably from that position. A good start to the tour on the field, but of course the real test will come against the Danish national team on Saturday.

Kericho Dominate VOC

Thanks to Shailesh for this report from the Akshar League in Nakuru:
VOC won the toss and, not surprisingly, elected to bat.
Ketan (45) and Naren (18) gave them a flying start, and at one stage they were cruising at 2/67 looking well set to reach at least 175. A middle order cave in however, brought on as Rashmi ripped through them, plus some careless run outs meant that they ended up restricted to 119 all out.
Kericho began their reply in an aggressive fashion, and despite losing wickets at regular intervals, kept their run rate at approximately 6 an over. VOC felt they had a sniff of a chance hhen they lost their 5th wicket on 91, but Tushar came in and attacked the bowling by hitting two sixes in two overs for a quick-fire 26 of just 15 balls to steer his side to victory.
VOC Innings:
Naren……………Ct Dipu…….....Jignesh…18
Kirti………………Ct jigar……....Rashmi….05
Jayesh.Girnara…Ct Dipu…....Rashmi…00
Kericho Innings:
Rashmi……….Ct Manish…..Jayesh.Girn..12
Jignesh……….Ct jayesh…......Naren……...23
VOC: Batting 1, Bowling 2, Total: 3
Kericho: Batting 1, Bowling 4, Win 12, Total: 17

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sheikh Sets Eyes On World Cup

More good news in the lead up to the World Cup in the West Indies: Kenyan Left Arm Spinner Muhammad Sheikh has stated that not only does he intend to play for Kenya again, but that he has a World Cup place firmly in his sights. Sheikh missed out on Kenya's tours to Zimbabwe and Bangladesh through (like Hitesh Modi) being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is currently based in Adelaide, South Australia, where he has been playing Grade cricket for the last couple of seasons. Cricket Kenya could not afford to fly players back from overseas, so unfortunately he was not considered. His absence would certainly have made a difference in Bangladesh, and he would bring much needed experience to the Intercontinental Cup side. Muhammad, who's best ODI figures are 4/36, says
"Playing Grade cricket has done me lots of good. Despite having a fairly okay season last year, I'm looking forward to the one coming as I have the World Cup on my mind."
With Collins Obuya still a long way away from his best form, and a general lack of left handers available to the selectors, this is very good news indeed. Kenya badly need someone other than Tikolo to share the spin load in the middle overs, and Sheikh way well be the person to play this role. As with Modi, the difficulty is finding the money to fly Skeikh back to Kenya in the lead up so the selectors can see first hand how he is playing. He has fared well for his side in South Australia, and Grade cricket in Australia is a tough school. It would certainly be in Kenya's interests to give him his chance this year, so he can gel with the rest of the team come March.

An Brief Look At How Kenya's World Cup Opposition Are Faring

A common theme when I tell people about this site, and even from the emails I get in response to it, is Kenya's excellent performance at the last World Cup and our chances of a similar upset come next year's event in the West Indies. I thought that with under a year to go now, I would take a brief look at what our opposition in the first round are up to and where they are at compared to us.
Kenya's group includes England, New Zealand and Canada, and it would not be unfeasible to think we have a chance of going through to the next round so long as we continue to improve.
Canada are currently seen as being one of the weakest Associate nations, recently losing to both Zimbabwe and Bermuda. Kenya will get an ideal opportunity to gauge our progress against them soon when they host us in the Intercontinental Cup next month and ODI series that follows. As things stand, we should be looking at beating them, and fairly comfortably. They do have potential to trouble us, but not I think with the current lineup. Internal politics may mean that it is not their strongest team that travels to the West Indies. Currently, I would expect Canada to lose all three matches in the first round, meaning that only one upset victory over either England or New Zealand should be enough to take us through.
New Zealand have released their build up program, and will go into the World cup having recently played Sri Lanka and Australia, two of the form sides of One Day cricket. The Kiwis are a largely under rated side internationally, and they would be my pick to top our group. They ducked playing us in the last World Cup however, and this alone will be motivation for Steve Tikolo and the team when the two sides do finally meet. I don't expect a win against the Black Caps, but do think we may well give them a scare.
England are currently undergoing a horror series against Sri Lanka, who are now 3-0 up and looking for a whitewash. As always when this happens, there are mutterings that England do not take One Day cricket seriously. Anyone who believes this is also their attitude to the World Cup is incredibly naive. I have little doubt that come March, they will come out all guns blazing. Despite this, they will be our best chance of a Full member scalp in the first round. Ireland recently ran them close while missing three of the best players, and this gives me hope that we can upset Freddie et al in Jamaica.
As for Kenya, we are making progress, but in some ways it is painfully slow. We are still at least a couple of batsmen short at the top of the order, and need a strike bowler to step up as well. Peter Ongondo has shown great promise with the ball so far this year, but his strength is coming in at first change. We badly need someone to partner Thomas Odoyo opening the bowling so that Peter can have a decent crack at the middle order.
Hopefully, Kennedy Otieno will be brought back into the fold having been given his wake up call recently. While he is ageing, there is still no feasible replacement for him, and his fighting qualities will be needed if we are to progress. In terms of other potential batsmen, the players currently on the A tour to Denmark have places available for them in the national team if they can prove their quality. Certainly, the team is far from decided.
I think that if we were to play each of the teams in our group today, we would come away with a win against Canada, a loss against New Zealand, and a tight loss against England. We have just over 8 months to find the players to make this two wins out of three. It will be a hard slog, but is definitely possible, especially if a couple of the youngsters start to fulfil their potential. Cricket Kenya are doing the right things in terms of getting the team plenty of international fixtures. What remains now is setting up a meaningful domestic league, so our best players can play each other when not on international duty. Then it is up to the players. Can we cause another upset at the World Cup? Assuredly. Will we? That remains to be seen.