Tuesday, October 13, 2009


It is hard to find another word to describe Kenya's performance against Zimbabwe in the first ODI played yesterday at Harare Sports Club. Kenya started the day with several changes to the team that lost to Zimbabwe A in the Intercontinental Cup, but the inclusion of Peter Ongondo aside these did not have the desired effect.

Players to miss out were Thomas Odoyo, Rageb Aga and Hiren Varaiya with their places taken by Elijah Otieno, Lameck Onyango and Ongondo. With Zimbabwe winning the toss and opting to bat, it was these three who needed to step up and show why they deserved their places over those they replaced. As Hamilton Masakadza ran amok on his way to a career best 156, it was only Ongondo who conceded less than a run a ball, yet he only bowled 7 overs compared to Lameck Onyango who set a new Kenyan record for the most runs conceded in an ODI with 91 plundered off his 10. Ongondo is the most experienced seamer we had to offer and the way he was bowling should have seen him have maximum overs.

Elijah Otieno also suffered at the hands of the Zimbabwean attack conceding at just over 8 runs an over as the hosts motored to 313/4 in their 50 overs. His inclusion in the side is however understandable as he is one of the prospects of the future and needs the exposure. Onyango however has now surely done his dash and must make room for the likes of Luseno on this tour and Darshit Shah or one of the other fringe players on future tours.

Kenya's spinners fared better with Kamande especially managing to put the lid on in the middle overs and he was rewarded with one of only 3 wickets to come off the ball, the other being a run-out. Kamande finished with figures of 9-0-37-1 and again should have bowled his maximum allotted. Tikolo was not at his best conceding 52 runs off 8 overs and without Varaiya as the third spin option, Kenya looked a bowler short. Strange then that Collins Obuya did not at least get an over or two - he could hardly have fared worse than Onyango.

I have left the best of Kenya's bowlers to last. Nehemiah Odhiambo was far and away the best bowler for Kenya taking 2/45 off his 10 overs and continues to press his case as the new first-pick all rounder for Kenya. Again perhaps a mistake was made introducing him as the fourth seam option rather than earlier. His improvement is perhaps the best support for Otieno's continued inclusion in sides as Odhiambo too used to find the going rough against the better batsmen. Credit to the player on how he has improved and long may that improvement continue.

Having been set 314 to win, Kenya's openers started well with the first 5 overs seeing the team on track in terms of keeping up with run rate. The familiar story of regular wickets then came into play as no fewer than 8 of the Kenyan order got into double figures and then got out. Rakep Patel (24) did finally improve on his single figure personal best in ODIs but he is still yet to produce the runs we know he is capable of. Again a player that needs the continued exposure and who will I'm sure deliver in time.

Tikolo, as always played well for his 49 and had he been given better support perhaps he would have gone on to score more. For the rest of the line up it was a disappointing day in the office as partnerships kept getting going that looked like they would bring Kenya into the match only for the batsmen to fall once they had got set. It is a malaise that has plagued the Kenyan game for a while now and must be high on the new coach's agenda to eliminate. We must learn to turn starts into 50s and centuries or we will not compete at this level, something that is no longer an option with the increasing standards of our fellow Associates and the tougher expectations of the Test sides.

There has always been a cry that Kenya needs more games to improve. On the counter side is the fact that unless we are competitive in all and victorious in at least some these games, there is little incentive for the top sides to play us. There is little time between games on this tour for Kenya to improve, but improve they must if the ship is going to continue to righten. Of one thing there is no doubt; Eldine Baptiste will be hard at work earning his keep before the month is out. Here's hoping for a better Kenyan performance in game two today.

1 comment:

Onyango said...

ODI team selection seems to be poor. way too many bowlers - tail is way too long. I'd like to see Aga and Odoyo replace lameck onyango and e otieno for ODI # 3.