Medium pace bowler Peterson Kamau and middle order batsman Dennis Musyoka are the surprise inclusion in the Kenya’s U19 squad for the upcoming ICC Africa under-19 championship scheduled for Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania from 14-20th February, 2015.
Nakuru-based James Butatila is the surprise exclusion from the team. Kamau and Musyoka have a little cricket background compared to the other members of the 14-man squad.
Of the two, Musyoka, who started playing cricket as a pupil at Huruma Primary School has been the most hard working. He turns up for Sir Ali Muslim Club in the Nairobi Provincial Cricket (NPCA) Division Two.
Unlike Musyoka who has been a regular at Sir Ali, Kamau failed to get playing time at Swamibapa Cricket Club, last year. He spent more time playing as 12th or 13th man. On his part, Butatila was impressive when Kenya hosted the Pakistan u-19 and the East Africa Schools tournament in December.
The squad will be led by 17-year old former Arya Boys Secondary School student Gurdeep Singh. Gurdeep who holds the record of being the second youngest One Day International (ODI) player when he made his debut for Kenya at the tender age of just 15 against Afghanistan in Dubai in September, 2013.
He is also a regular member of the National team having recently represented the country in the just concluded ICC World Cricket League Division 2 tournament in Windhoek, Namibia where Kenya finished third.
Gurdeep Singh has played in an ODI, two T20 and three List A matches and will be assisted by Paramveer Singh, who was the top wicket-taker with 13 scalps at the last ICC Africa Regional u-19 qualifiers held in Uganda two years ago.
The right-arm off break bowler will be a key member of the squad having taken Kenya u-19s to the brink of qualification losing out to Namibia in the final in Kampala.
Key role in Kenya’s quest
Kanbis’ seamer Gautam Bhudia is the other player who was part of the team that played in the 2013 qualifiers and like Gurdeep Singh and Paramveer Singh, he is expected to play a key role in Kenya’s quest of qualification.
The squad also boosts of Rahul Seedhar from Peponi School, Seedhar 16, had a good season with his school in last year’s International Schools Cricket Leagues last year where he led his school to the title. Another player who is making his debut at the international level after a good show in the domestic events is Mombasa-based Mohammed Kalyan.
For two seasons now, Kalyan has been among the most outstanding bowlers in the Coast Cricket Association competitions.
The team is currently training under National Coach Thomas Odoyo at Sir Ali Muslim Club in Nairobi. Thomas Odoyo, the national under-19 coach said; “This is a good squad that I am confident will make Kenya proud at the tournament. The players know the importance of the qualifiers for the country and are raring to go.”
The 2013 losing finalists Kenya, will battle it out with defending champions and hot favorites Namibia, Uganda, Nigeria, Botswana and hosts Tanzania.
The top-ranked team will qualify directly to the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2016 to be held in Bangladesh while the second ranked team will make it to the Global Qualifiers where five teams from the ICC Regions will contest for the remaining single slot.
The 10 Test playing Nations get automatic qualification to the event.
Kenya under-19 squad: Gurdeep Singh (captain), Paramveer Singh (vice captain), Kavi Dosaja, Gautam Bhudia, Snehil Gajparia, Shyam Rabadiya, Adarsh Sawjani, Mohammed Kalyan, Dennis Musyoka, Peterson Kamau, Rahul Seedhar, Sachin Bhudia, Arjun Patel, Aman Gandhi.