A continuation of our profiles of teams in the Black Caps' group. Remember to keep up with Macca's take on the delights of the Caribbean.
Team Profile: Kenya: Lest We Forget.
Memory is a strange thing. I can still remember my first three scores playing cricket as a 9 year-old (0, 9(retired), 11(off four balls - two edged fours and three overthrows), but I had forgotten, or more likely blocked out, that Kenya made the semi finals of the 2003 World Cup.
They did so of course because New Zealand gifted them the points by refusing to go to Nairobi for security reasons and because the Sri Lankans self destructed, probably through stress about their security. (Where was Gilbert Enoka when they needed him?).
The chances of a repeat in 2007 are remote, but if NZ can lose to Bangladesh in a warm-up game, why not?
Well, partly because despite great strides Kenyan cricket is still a bit of a shambles. Things have improved after a major restructuring of the national association, in response to corruption claims, player strikes and nepotism. Personally, I am always suspicious of an association whose Chief Executive is the older brother of the national captain
In January the team actually went on strike because they did not get match fees for a cancelled game against Canada. Who knew they were even getting match fees? Actually according to the blogs, in the local leagues clubs are held to ransom on match day by players arguing over match fees. However they did win the ICC World Cricket League in February, netting them $250,000 in prize money which presumably can pay a few match fees.
Another reason is that Kenya claim to have already won their World Cup. Call it realism or a lack of vision, but as Murray Deaker would say that attitude won't get you a biomag. Interesting to note that Thomas Odyo says the Black Caps are the second most disciplined team in the world after Australia. Presumably he is referring to the number of times Braces has to go to the player's rooms after 'lights out'.
The Kenyans are coached by former West Indian spinner Roger Harper. He was part of the Windies team who went down to Kenya at the 1996 Cup. There are theories about in Kenya that Harper is in fact a carefully placed mole, working on the 'revenge is a coruba and coke served very cold' principle. We shall see.
In addition to Tikolo and Odoyo, the team does have some young talent. The up and coming batsman is 20 year old Tanmay Mishra. Indian born, bats like Sehwag, fields like Jonty Rhodes and looks a little like a young Mohammed Azharuddin. Keep that young man away from the bookies. In the bowling stakes we are told to look out for Hiren Varaiya a left arm slow bowler and seamer Nehemiah Odhaimbo.
If nothing else, Kenya will win the prize for the most enthusiastic blogger. There to ensure we never forget.