CK opts for elite squad development

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Sep 12, 2015
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After missing out on the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup and the ICC U19 World Cup for over 12 years, Cricket Kenya (CK) has embarked on a program that will see Kenya take part in the two events.

CK through its Junior coach Thomas Odoyo who was also the coach of the U19 team that lost in the 2016 ICC U19 World Cup in Tanzania in February have launched an Elite Squad that will be used to help bridge the gap between the U19 players and national team players by giving them more exposure.

 

As part of the new program that CK believes will help in creating a bigger pool of players for both national and U19 teams, Kenya is set to host Uganda U19 for a series of matches from Friday.

Uganda are preparing for the U-19 Global World Cup Qualifiers to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 16th October 2015 CK intends to give the players aged 17-23 a chance to play many competitive matches before they are taken to the ‘deep waters’ at the international level.

Speaking on the new development, Odoyo said this program will help in bridging the gap that has existed between the senior team and the U19 players.

“Our cricket has suffered because of lack of exposure to our young players getting to the U19 and the players just above the U19. We expect that this new program will enable us get more players coming into both sides more exposed and ready to take on the world,” Odoyo said.

Odoyo said the squad will draw players from clubs and schools and give them advanced training. As a pilot program, Odoyo had picked up a squad of 22 players. The success of the pilot program is what has made CK invest in the program.

“After losing out in the U19 Qualifiers we needed to have continuity. We needed these players to continue playing and the only way we could have made them play is to get senior players who are not in the national team to join them so that we can have two strong sides. This has helped as we have seen the players do well in the league and that is why CK has made it one of the programs that will help us get to the world stage,” he said.

Lack of a wider pool

Odoyo said part of the problem that has faced Kenya cricket for year’s was lack of a wider pool to select players and with this new initiative, the former national team opening bowler is confident things will improve.

“We have enough players and what we needed to do is to create a platform that all these players will play before being selected. At the moment the selection criteria hasn’t been the best but we believe this program will give us a new way of getting the best players into our teams,” Odoyo added.

Among the players that have been part of the pilot program that begun in June are Rushab Patel, Abdul Najmi, Abraham Vadada, Pushpak Kerai and Joseph Owino.

These players with many more have gone on to put on good show for their teams in the NPCA league The Kenya U19 side and their Ugandan counterpart met at the qualifiers where Uganda beat Kenya on their way to qualifying to the global qualifiers alongside Namibia.

Odoyo sees these matches as an opportunity for the youngsters who have shown promise to face a different opposition. “As much as we are giving match practice for our neighbours as they prepare to take on stiffer opposition on the global front, our boys also get an opportunity to showcase their skills. ,” said Odoyo.