Dip in form led to Obanda's omission, Tikolo

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Jun 18, 2021
  • Steve Tikolo, the national cricket coach is optimistic Kenya will do well in the qualifier. He explained why Alex Obanda was dropped from the squad. (SNA File Photo)

  • Kenya completed a practice session by shifting their base to Uganda because of the heavy rains in Nairobi. (SNA File Photo)

Steve Tikolo, the National cricket team coach has attributed the omission of batsman Alex Obanda from the squad for the upcoming ICC events to a drop in form and not his contract.

Speaking while releasing the names of 15 players who will play in next week’s ICC World Cricket League championships against United Arab Emirates and the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Scotland and Ireland next month, Tikolo explained Obanda had not consistently posted convincing scores.

“Alex is a destructive batsman when he is on form but unfortunately he has not been giving the team the performances that the team requires from him in the recent past and that is why we have opted to leave him out of this tour,” Tikolo stated.

He assured there was no cause for alarm over his absence. “One can only be missed if they have been performing consistently for the team but we all know Alex has not had a good season. I had a long chat with Alex and asked him to take a deep look at his game and where he needs to work extra hard to improve,” the coach said.

However, Tikolo added his absence could be a blessing in disguise for other emerging players. “Though it is unfortunate for Alex, his absence gives someone else the opportunity to put up their hand and perform for the team. I don't think it will affect the team that much,” said Tikolo.

The player who has been included in the team as replacement for Obanda is Nairobi Gymkhana captain Karan Kaul. Kaul was in the squad that took part in the just concluded training camp in Uganda where Kenya beat the hosts in all the matches.

Tikolo observed Kaul had shown a lot of improvement in the last 12 months and was hopeful he will have a good outing on his maiden international assignment for the country. “He has really worked himself into the team. He was among the top 15 batsman last season and he has also had good show in the practice matches we have had. I am sure he has a promising career ahead of him,” Tikolo said of the Nairobi Gymkhana opening batsman.

Kenya has a chance

On the team chances at the qualifiers Tikolo said Kenya has a chance of qualifying for the 2016 World Cup in India but only if the players took their chances. “Looking at the group we are pooled in, our chances are very good but again it is about delivering the good performances at the right time.”

Kenya is grouped alongside Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, USA, Canada, Scotland, Netherlands, Oman and UAE.

Tikolo singled out batting and fielding as areas that could determine Kenya chances of qualification. “The one area that was our undoing in the last qualifier was our fielding. During that tournament we dropped quite a number of catches and this cost us matches. We have worked hard in this area and in the recent past, am happy to note that there is a marked improvement in our fielding.

We still need to work hard at our batting. We need to get the batsmen scoring runs more consistently rather than a one-off performance if we are to win more matches. If we do that then we will be ok,” he noted.

According to the format of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2015, the sides that top the two groups will automatically qualify for the ICC World Twenty20 India 2016, while the sides that finish second and third in each of the two groups will play cross-over matches with the two winners joining the table-toppers for the India tournament.

The Kenyan squad is set to leave the country on Friday for England where they will play two build matches before taking on UAE in the World Cricket League Championships on June 25 and 27.

The ICC World Cricket League championship is an elite 50 over competition played between leading Associate and Affiliate members. The ICC WCLC is the pathway for participating teams to play in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018 and subsequently have a chance to qualify for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Squad: Rakep Patel (captain), Emmanuel Bundi, Narendra Kalyan, Irfan Karim, Karan Kaul, Lucas Ndandason, James Ngoche, Shem Ngoche, Collins Obuya, Eugene Ochieng, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Nelson Odhiambo, Elijah Otieno, Morris Ouma, Gurdeep Singh.