Tikolo includes three youngsters for Africa Twenty20 Cup in SA

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Sep 24, 2015
  • Abraham Vadada is one of the surprise call ups by Steve Tikolo for the Africa Tewnty20 tournament in South Africa.

Since taking over the coaching role of the national cricket team Steve Tikolo has been making changes in the team with the hope that the team will get back to its old glory days.

Tikolo who was part of the team that earned Kenya a good name in the cricket books in the late 90s and early 2000 has once again shocked the cricket fraternity in the country by leaving out two of his most experienced players in team for this week’s Africa Twenty20 Cup set for South Africa.

Tikolo left out wicket keeper Maurice Ouma and bowler Nehemiah Odhiambo in his 13 members’ squad for the event.

He included three youngsters and uncapped Abraham Vadada for the event that will include teams from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Namibia.

Odhiambo and Ouma were part of the squad that failed to make it to the World Twenty20 in India during the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Ireland and Scotland in July.

Also missing from the team that took part in the qualifiers are Narendra Kalyan,Gurdeep Singh and Eugene Maneno.

Apart from Vadada,the new faces in the squad are returnees Alex Obanda and Dhiren Gondaria and Rushab Patel.

Tikolo explained the omission of the two Swamibapa players (Ouma and Odhiambo) and the inclusion Vadada saying it was for the good of the sport as he rebuilds the team.

"At the moment, our cricket is at a stage where we are looking to rebuild and that is why we are seeing some new faces and some youngsters in the team. It is time to try something out of the usual because the usual has not been working for a long time thus the selection of the team to South Africa,” Tikolo said.

The former national team captain said the decision to leave out Ouma and Odhiambo was due to their drop in form in the recent events. 

Although Ouma has been impressive, his form has only come after the names of the players had already been selected and sent to the tournament organizers in South Africa.

Vadada included in the team

Tikolo defended the inclusion of Stray Lions opener Vadada who is not eligible to play for Kenya saying he has worked hard and shown good example to the other players. Vadada is an Indian citizen.

He revealed that Vadada was keen on playing for Kenya if he qualifies according to the ICC regulations. “Though Vadada is not Kenyan, he qualifies to play for the team in this tournament. He has been doing well in the local scene plus he is keen to follow up the ICC qualifications procedures to play for the country and in that light, I felt it was good to have a look at him in this tournament.

As earlier said, it is very unfortunate that some players who have been in the team long enough are not giving the required performances thus the need to try new players,” he added.

He added that Obanda has shown improvement recently in the league. Tikolo said he expects to have a good outing in the event adding that he was confident with the squad he had.

“Obviously, my expectations is to top our group and go in to the semi finals stage. It will not be easy as we are up against tough teams playing in their own back yard but I have confidence in the players selected to do the job for us.

Gondaria is making a comeback in the team after missing out in action since sustaining an injury on a motorbike in early January. Since his return, the Kanbis youngster has been impressive with the bat including a century against Nairobi Gymkhana two weeks ago.

On his part, Rushab has earned a place in the team after good performances in the league and the internal matches organized ahead of the team’s selection.

As part of the preparation, most of the players in the team played against Saudi Arabia who were in the country for a series of matches. The visitors won the series but Tikolo believes the players gave their best.

“We lost to Saudi Arabia but the intentions was to try and give everyone a chance to play so the technical bench can have a look at them in match situations and also try different combinations with the young and new faces coming in to the team.

In view of this, though losing any match is disappointing, I am not wary in any way and am confident that the boys will do well,” he assured.

Squad: Rakep Patel (capt), Collins Obuya, Nelson Odhiambo, Abraham Vadada, Emmanuel Bundi,Rushab Patel, Lucas Oluoch, Shem Obado, Dhiren Gondaria, Irfan Kari, Karan Kaul and Elijah Otieno.