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Kenya ready to put recent disappointments behind it

ICC Media Release
Thu, Jun 24, 2010 9:36 PM

Kenya ready to put recent disappointments behind it
Ouma: "There will be added responsibility on the shoulders of the senior boys"

Kenya is determined to put a series of recent disappointing results behind it in its quest to regain the ICC World Cricket League Division 1 which will be staged in the Netherlands from 1 to 10 July.

Kenya, which reached the semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 in South Africa and won the inaugural ICC World Cricket League Division 1 in Nairobi in 2007, has lost 16 of its last 20 ODIs besides failing to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 tournaments in England and the West Indies.

Despite the setbacks of the past 17 months or so, Kenya captain Maurice Ouma is not feeling the heat and is confident his side will succeed in turning things around.

"While we're expected to play and perform well, there is no added pressure on us," he said.

"We're professional cricketers and understand that there are times when the going can be tough. But the bottom line is you have to learn from the past so that you could live in the present."

Ouma also played down the comparison between the current team with the ones that played in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 and the ICC World Cricket League Division 1. "It would be unfair to compare the Kenya squads of 2003 and 2007 with the present one. Those sides had a lot of class, experience and included players who had established themselves at the global stage.

"The event in 2007 was in our backyard and we had all the advantages like crowd support, understanding of the pitches and weather conditions. And to our credit, we made full use of those favourable conditions by playing consistently well," said the 27-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman ahead of his side's departure for Amsterdam.

"But those are stories of the past. This present squad is a talented and committed bunch of players who are keen to play to their true potential in the forthcoming tournament. The squad realises the importance of this tournament which is taking place in the middle of the ICC Intercontinental Cup and about seven months ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.

"I don't think the players require any further motivation as these factors are more than enough to encourage and charge your batteries," he said.

Besides the recent disappointing results, Kenya is hampered with the absence of Steve Tikolo, David Obuya and Peter Ondongo who were part of the 2007 squad while other players missing from the 2009 campaign in South Africa include Kennedy Obuya, Seren Waters, Rajesh Bhudiya and Lameck Ngoche.

"The absence of David (Obuya) and Peter (Ongondo) is a body blow to us as they are magnificent cricketers and right at the peak of their games.

"In fact, Peter, in October 2008, was the highest-ranked Associate bowler in 20th position in the Reliance Mobile ICC Player Rankings for ODI bowlers," said Ouma of the two who have a combined experience of 140 ODIs.

David Obuya has scored 1,183 runs in 64 ODIs while Peter Ongondo has scored 385 runs and taken 77 wickets in 76 ODIs.

This leaves Ouma along with James Kamande, Collins Obuya, Hiren Varaiya and Thomas Odoyo under the spotlight. Between them they share 376 ODIs out of a total of 489 ODIs which the current side has played in total. Those have scored 5,596 runs out of 7,157 and have shared 247 out of 312 wickets between them.

"Their absence will put additional responsibility on the vastly experienced shoulders of the senior boys as we have a young and energetic but relatively inexperienced side that includes three players who have not played at the international level while the experience of three other players is in single digits in terms of matches played.

"The senior pros will have to take the responsibility and not only guide and inspire the youngsters but also control the proceedings on match days. It's all about transferring the knowledge and preparing players for the future. And this event will go a long way in achieving both the objectives."

Overall, Kenya has played 28 ODIs against Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands and Scotland, and has won 13 and lost 12 with three ending in no-results. While Kenya has dominated its matches against Canada (winning seven and losing two) and Scotland (winning three out of five), it has a poor record against Ireland (lost five out of seven) and the Netherlands (won only two out of six).

Ouma said conditions in the Netherlands will be crucial. "The conditions will be challenging to all the teams and the side that will adapt quickly to those conditions will have a best chance of winning the tournament.

"As the sides in the Netherlands will be of equal strength, I believe the side that will play better cricket on match days will give itself greater chances to come out winners."

Kenya: Maurice Ouma (captain), James Kamande, Collins Obuya, Dominic Wesonga, Alex Obanda, Elijah Otieno, Hiren Varaiya, Rakep Patel, Alfred Luseno, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Thomas Odoyo, James Ngoche, Shem Ngoche, Nelsen Odhiambo, Francis Ndege.

Schedule of Kenya's matches:

Thursday 1 Jul - v Ireland, VOC Rotterdam

Saturday 3 Jul - v the Netherlands, VCC Voorburg

Monday 5 Jul - v Afghanistan, VRA Amstelveen

Wednesday 7 Jul - v Scotland, VOC Rotterdam

Friday 9 Jul - v Canada, VCC Voorburg

Saturday 10 Jul - Play-off (tbc)

Matches start at 1100 (local time, 0900 GMT)

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