Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Keeping ahead of the rest

Until Ireland's heroics at the World Cup, Kenya were able to count themselves as the top Associate cricketing nation. We had won the World Cricket League Division 1 in Nairobi and were the only Associate team on the rankings table.
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Ireland have now not only joined us on that table, but after getting through to the Super 8s have actually overtaken us. not only that, but they are currently in the process of dishing out a thrashing to Canada on their way to retaining the Intercontinental Cup. This is an event that Kenya should have intentions of winning ourselves, but we were knocked out after finishing third to Canada and The Netherlands in our group.
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A Kenya Select side have just returned from a month long tour of Zimbabwe, easily the weakest of the Test nations (and even that is a tenuous position). Having played 5 games, 4 against provincial sides in the Logan Cup, the team returned home winless. It is true that this was in essence a learning trip, one designed to give our younger players experience at First Class cricket (something which it seems to have succeeded at as the standards improved throughout the tour), but none the less, the results highlight the difference in standards between the two countries.
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Later this year, Kenya Under19s travel to South Africa to take part in the qualifiers for the Under 19 World Cup and in April 2009, the national team travel to the UAE to contest a place in the 2011 World Cup. Both these are events that Kenya needs to qualify from and both are events that will see other nations doing their utmost to knock us out.
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In the Under 19 qualifiers, Uganda have already knocked Kenya out in the past and with a stronger youth system than we have, will have their sights set on doing this a second time. Only one team is due to go through from the region, so qualification will be even harder this time around. Cricket Kenya and the NPCA have done well in starting preparations much earlier than last time, but it it high time a junior structure was put in place that enabled our best young players to play against each other on a regular basis. Only then will we be able to go into such tournaments with confidence.
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2009 is a much more serious threat. there are plenty of countries, like neighbors Uganda, who are rapidly developing better internal structures than Kenya to develop talent and bring it through. Kenya cannot afford to rest on our laurels and expect that our position is set in stone. It is not, and unless we do something to change it, we are going to find it harder and harder to stay ahead of the chasing pack. Here's hoping to hear some good news on this front soon!

1 comment:

Mkenya said...

The under 19 team to S.A should consist of the under 19 players who went to Tanzania plus A. Obanda, E.Otieno, R. Patel. With this team Uganda will not have it easy this time.Kenya to win in SA.