Koech retained by selectors for his ability to field?

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Nov 20, 2017
  • Irfan Karim, the national team wicket keeper could be replaced by Rushabh Patel in the event of he is unable to play according to the selectors. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Cricket Kenya selectors, in a surprising move have retained youngster Peter Koech in the national cricket team for his ability to field and not his batting or bowling ahead of the ICC World Cricket League matches with Scotland.

The double header will be played at Dubai International Stadium on December 6 and 8.

Harpal Singh Sehmi (Palli), the CK chairman of selectors confidently confirmed to Sports News Arena that they decided to retain the Nairobi Gymkhana bowler for his work ethics in fielding.

“Koech can save at least 20 to 30 runs when need be and that’s why he was selected. He might not play all the matches but he is going to be useful in the field when he gets the chance,” Sehmi explained.

Players are usually selected on their ability in batting and bowling. In very rare occasions a player is selected into the team for being a wicketkeeper only.

Koech first broke into the national team two months ago when Kenya played against the Netherlands in the same event in South Africa but was not fielded in the two matches.

However his selection in the team once again alongside his club mate Rushabh Patel has raised queries on what criteria was used retaining theem.

Sehmi confirmed they used the performance in the NPCA league is selecting the team even though a number of players in the team have not had a good show in the league including Koech and Rushabh.

It’s after being asked what warranted the selection of the two at the expense of others who had performed better that Sehmi said they selected Koech on his fielding.

“He can bowl but we have quite a good bowling unit,” the chairman said.

Below average

From eight matches in the NPCA season, Koech has bagged a wicket a match from 51 overs at an average of 31.88.

This is way below that of his team mate Martin Okoth who has bagged 17 wickets from 88.2 overs at an average of 24.47 and Sikh Union’s Tarandeep Singh who also 17 wickets.

Veteran Lameck Onyango also has a better bowling show than Koech.

He also defended the selection of Rushabh saying the batsman was selected as the second choice wicket keeper.

“Rushabh will be the second wicket keeper in the team. In case something happens in the team and the first choice keeper (Irfan Karim) does not play, we will need a second keeper that’s why we had to go with Rushabh.

Rushabh has for some time been struggling with his form both in the national team and at the club. In the league, he is currently placed 36th with 224 runs from nine innings at an average of 24.89.

His teammate Karan Kaul who is placed 17th with 303 runs was once again ignored same to Dominic Wesonga who is 27th.

Other players that have impressed in the league with the bat and are eligible for selection include Kanbis’ Vinod Rabadia.

Retired international Kennedy Obuya, Thomas Odoyo and David Obuya have been in good form in the league than a number of players who have been selected for the crunch matches.

Squad: Rakep Patel, Dhiren Gondaria, Pushpak Kerai, Nelson Odhiambo, (Kanbis), Rushabh Patel, Lucas Oluoch, Peter Koech (Nairobi Gymkhana), Irfan Karim, Emmanuel Bundi, Alex Obanda (Swamibapa), Collins Obuya, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Shem Obado, Gurdeep Singh (Sikh Union).

Officials: Thomas Odoyo (Coach), Peter Ongondo (Assistant Coach).