Monday, October 19, 2009

Perspective on Kenya's tour to Zimbabwe

Today, Kenya return from Zimbabwe, having lost their Intercontinental Cup match against Zimbabwe 'A' by five wickets and the ODI series against Zimbabwe by one game to four.
But how different might it have been if the Kenyans had been able to build on the day when, in reply to Kenya's 333 all out, they had Zimbabwe 'A' at 178 for 7. But for Vusi Sibanda's double-century, which took his side to 352, how different might it have been?

A victory in the 'A' game would have provided just the impetus needed for the ODIs; yet it was only in the third game, won by Kenya by 20 runs, that the East Africans took the game by the scruff of the neck. It was then so utterly disappointing that in the fourth game Kenya, having scored a challenging-looking 270 for 8, allowed Zimbabwe to run away to a six-wicket victory with two overs to spare; and then, in the final match, to be hammered by an enormous number of runs.

The plus point of the tour, however, must be the regeneration of Zimbabwe. Sibanda 's splendid innings, Hamilton Masakadza's imposing batting, and the re-emergence of Stuart Matsikenyeri as a powerful lower-order player are all good for the game; and all credit must be given to Kenya for visiting that benighted land.

Kenya, not totally outplayed, will see this tour as a prospectus for the future, so that now, if Scotland is to come to Kenya for an Intercontinental Cup fixture and a series of ODIs in January, that will fill a very good gap in the schedules - as neither side is going to the Under-19 world cup finals in New Zealand -and is likely to prove useful to both sides in what should be a very exciting rubber.

The green shoots are there, and Eldine Baptiste's hand on the tiller can already be detected. Let's just hope that the 2010s will prove 'anni mirabiles' and will bring for Kenya a joyful restoration and return to the great days of the 1990s.

- Topspinner

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