By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Feb 28, 2017
Kenya cricket team head coach Thomas Odoyo has defended the selection of Elijah Otieno back into the national team saying the paceman has "something special".
The Swamibapa player was surprisingly included in a 14-man squad for next week’s ICC World Cricket League Championship fixture in Nepal.
He was left out of the squad that played Hong Kong in Nairobi in November after poor form in the NPCA League.
Despite his dismal form in the NPCA Twenty20 league, Odoyo and his selection panel found a place for the Swamibapa bowler in the squad that will play a couple of buildup matches in Baroda, India before traveling to Nepal.
Odoyo explained said that even though the 29-year-old has been struggling in the local league, he is capable of doing well at the international level.
"We think he has got something special, his one-day record for us has been exceptional," Odoyo said ahead of the team’s departure to India on Monday afternoon.
"It's a tight call for us to have him. He bowls a good length that is difficult for batsmen at the international level which he has struggled to adjust to a different length at the local league that is why he seems not to be bowling well," the coach added.
Otieno replaces Kongonis bowling all-rounder Eugene Maneno.
Also surprisingly named in the team is Kanbis spinner Pushpak Kerai who replaced his team-mate Narendra Patel, who was unavailable for the tour.
The Kanbis all-rounder has on several occasions failed to avail himself for tours despite being one of the top players in the team.
Kerai had a good season in 2015 and disastrous one last year, where he only picked six wickets for the entire season. He was, however, selected to the Kenya ‘A’ tour of Uganda in November but on his return, little has been heard of him in terms of performance.
Youthful Rushabh Vadrhan Patel, who has also failed to sparkle with the bat for a while, has also been handed a place in the team alongside Nairobi Gymkhana’s skipper Karan Kaul who has on most occasions carried his club single handed in the ongoing NPCA Twenty20 with a couple of good knocks.
Former skipper Maurice Ouma, who has been enjoying good form for almost a year was overlooked.
While in India, the team will play Baroda Select sides before departing tfor Nepal on March 9 for the two ICC WCLC matches on March 11 and 13.
Squad: Rakep Patel, Nelson Odhiambo, Dhiren Gondaria, Pushpak Kerai (Kanbis), Shem Obado, Collins Obuya (Stray Lions), Nehemiah Odhiambo, Alex Obanda, (Swamibapa), Karan Kaul, Lucas Oluoch, RushabhVadrhan Patel (Nairobi Gymkhana), Elijah Otieno (Swamibapa), Gurdeep Singh (Nairobi Sikh Union) and Irfan Karim (unattached).