Thursday, October 25, 2007

Still a big gap

Despite Kenya's recent series whitewash over Canada, October has not all been good for Kenyan Cricket. Denmark, who have been touring the country playing a combination of age, regional and development teams leave undefeated having beaten Kenya A in their final match. It should also be noted that this was a strong Kenya A side after previous results against CCA and NPCA sides were convincing victories for the Danes and prompted a shuffle in personel.

That Cricket Kenya organised the tour and that they spread the games around different teams allowing different players to gain experience is to be lauded. It is however slightly disappointing that Kenya A were not able to put up a better performance. It would also have been nice if the opportunity of having Denmark and Uganda both in the country had been taken to play a triangular with Kenya A. The way Uganda are playing, they probably would have won that event, but it would have been good experience for all concerned. CCA and NPCA could still have been given warm up games against either of the teams so that they didn't miss out.

what Kenya A's results do show is that there is still a fairly big gulf between the players in the national team and the back up or fringe players. If Kenya are going to develop into a more competitive unit, this gap needs to be bridged. This should begin to happen once the much touted National League gets underway - supposedly next month. There seems to be some confusion as to the teams that will play in that, but it sounds like it could be 2 from Nairobi and 1 each from Coast, Rift and Central with the latter 2 heavily subsidised by Nairobi players, certainly to begin with.

I think that Cricket Kenya should also include Kenya Under 19s as a separate team in this competition. It would certainly help bring on the next generation and should lead to stronger development sides and better integration of the fringe players into the national squad as they will be more used to playing a more competitive brand of cricket.

In the meantime, the national team play their first of 3 ODIs against Bermuda today. Let's hope Odoyo and Obanda can continue their good form and that some of the others also make big scores and take plenty of wickets. Make no mistake, this is a series that Kenya really should dominate.