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Team profile: Kenya

Fri, Feb 22, 2013 7:27 AM

Team profile: Kenya
Elijah Otieno is congratulated after picking
the wicket of Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan
Kenya will head into the Pepsi ICC Africa Division 1 tournament in Kampala, Uganda as firm favourite to lift the title.

Kenya, who finished third in the same event held in Uganda in 2011, will seek to do better having been represented by a young inexperienced squad at the time.

The stakes are higher this time with qualification into the ICC World Twenty20 qualifier a guarantee for the top two teams. Kenya will be sending an experienced squad to compete in these fixtures this time round and will be expected to qualify based on being the highest ranked member in the six team event.

In Alex Obanda, the team possesses a massively talented player in the T20 format. If he gets going, he is likely to lay the platform for the rest of the top order batsman to exploit, with the other dependable batsmen, Rakep Patel, Tanmay Mishra and Collins Obuya to follow.

Kenya's bowling department will be spearheaded by the pair of Nehemiah Odhiambo and Nelson Odhiambo to provide the necessary penetration and in Hiren Varaiya, Kenya possess a reliable spinner in the sub-continental wickets, his contribution will be key to Kenya's chances when they need the breakthroughs against established batsmen to turn the game in their favour.

Preparations have been ongoing since the team resumed training in early January and having to face some relatively unknown opposition will provide a huge challenge for them despite their status. The T20 format is sometimes a gamble and on another day similarly ranked teams can cause upsets, but the 5-time World Cup campaigners will be hoping to secure qualification into the next stage of the competition.

With each team playing each other twice for a total of eight matches, Kenya's physicality will be severely tested with will the upcoming fixture against Canada in Dubai on the back of the series in Kampala.

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