Seren Waters makes way for Rageb Aga in the only change as Cricket Kenya name the squad to take on Zimbabwe in both the Intercontinental Cup and the series of ODIs to follow.
Given that Waters (pictured in action against Ireland earlier this year) has been in form for Surrey seconds and has recently signed an emerging players contract it is both interesting and worrying that he has been left out or opted to be left out. We are currently awaiting confirmation of the reason for his exclusion from Cricket Kenya. Hopefully he will be playing for Kenya again in the near future as he is too good a talent to be allowed to get away. Edit 4/10/09 - Cricket Kenya has confirmed that Seren's first week of University coincides with the Zimbabwe tour and he is required to attend for registration purposes. It is hoped he will be available for future tours once he has settled in. ND
Aga's inclusion is also interesting in that it means that both Darshit Shah and Runish Gudkha miss out despite their recent good showing in the practice matches. Though admittedly figures can sometimes flatter, they looked to be in with a chance and can consider themselves unlucky not tomake the cut. Aga has however been among the wickets since returning from injury and, like Waters, is too good a player for Kenya to lose. It is good to see him return to the fold.
Rakep Patel also keeps his place in the side, perhaps on the back of a timely century yesterday. One of the incumbent squad who had previously not stood up to expectation in the practice games so far, he has kept alive the promise of great things to come. If 2008 was the year the Obanda made a name for himself at an international level, this may well be Patel's year. Considering that he missed the Canada series due to the untimely loss of his father, it is nice that he gets a chance again vs Zimbabwe. So far he has been given only slivers of opportunity, perhaps this tour he will be given enough to prove his worth.
Without Waters in the team, it looks like Maurice Ouma will return to his opening role opening the batting with David Obuya at the other end. Tikolo in his preferred 4 and Ongondo and Varaiya as the main bowlers are the only other obvious starting choices.
3 has been Obanda's preferred spot since coming into the team, but he could face competition from both Patel and Collins Obuya who will also look to contest 5,6 and 7 with Jimmy Kamande and Thomas Odoyo, should he be fit enough to bowl. If he is not, he may be a high profile omission, especially with Nehemiah Odhiambo threatening to move up from the number 8 slot as he continues his exponential improvement as an all-rounder. If Odoyo is fully fit, expect him also to contend for the 7th or 8th position as well as opening the bowling with Ongondo.
Should Odoyo not be fit to bowl his place must be sacrificed and this leaves the door open for Aga to step in, though Luseno, Onyango and Elijah Otieno will also no doubt get a run at some point. Luseno with his extra pace may even be favourite for the Intercontinental Cup rather than the ODIs where he could prove expensive.
I have been asked to give my opinion on the final starting XI and assuming Odoyo is fit to bowl, I would guess for the Intercontinental Cup it will be:
Ouma, D Obuya, Patel, Tikolo, C Obuya, Kamande, Odoyo, Odhiambo, Aga, Ongondo, Varaiya with Obanda as 12th man.
1. Ragheb Gul Aga
2. Thomas Odoyo Migai
3. Peter Jimmy Carter Ongondo
4. Hiren Ashok Varaiya
5. Nehemiah Odhiambo Ngoche
6. Lameck Onyango Ngoche
7. Collins Omondi Obuya
8. Alfred Luseno
9. Morris Ouma Amolo (Captain)
10. James Kabatha Kamande (Vice Captain)
11. Alex Obanda Auma
12. Rakep Rajendrabhai Patel
13. Elijah Otieno Asoyo
14. David Oluoch Obuya
15. Steve Ogonji Tikolo
The technical personnel consist of the following:
- Eldine Baptiste (National Coach)
- Martin Suji (Assistant Coach)
- Macdonald Suji (Team Manager)
- Thota Sreenivas (Match Analyst)
- Wycliffe Agola (Team Physiotherapist)
- Joseph Asichi (Fitness Trainer)