Kenya’s mens national team is in the UK to play the UAE, in the first leg of the World Cricket League, and then the qualifiers for the preliminary leg of the T20 World Cup, being co-hosted by Ireland and Scotland.
First the World Cricket League. Because of the funky world of International Cricket Council management and its arbitrary decision making, Kenya are back in Division 1 of the World Cricket League, not on merit, but as a side effect of a gerrymandering of the ODI world rankings to include Ireland and Afghanistan.
This was done to soothe the pain of their sevision to cut 4 teams from the next edition of the ODI world cup.
Kenya open with 2 games against UAE, an opponent they drew with 1-1, the last time they met.
The T20 world cup qualifiers on the other hand represent the final hurdle for associates from all over the globe to get on the high table of this fotmat of the game. There will be 6 slots, which will be earned through an excessively contrived series of playoffs I will not dwell on here.
Anyway, having safely dispatched Uganda in a warm up series, Kenya will hope the momentum gathered will help them get past opponents, who have proven a tough nut to crack in recent times.
During the regional T20 qualifiers,and division 2 of the WCL,when facing higher opponents particularly of the calibre, of the Netherland, or Namibia, Kenya struggled to impose their will on proceedings, as they did against the likes of Uganda.
The WC, and T20 matches represent another step up in quality. Thus the ability of Kenya to grind out results against teams, that are significantly more seasoned, will be tested severally.
Kenya have added a little youth, to a largely unchanged squad from the ICC sssignments earlier in the year.
The bedrock of the batting will likely be Collins Obuya, Rakep Patel, Morris Ouma and Irfan Karim, with Narendra Patel, and the young guns Karan Kaul, and Gurdeep Singh looking to deliver break out performances, wherever they get the chance.
On the bowling front, This blogger expects Elijah Otieno and the Ngoche brothers: Nehemiah, Shem, and James, should carry the bulk of the workload, with Bundi, and Ndandason, providing variety with their different styles of seam bowling.
In addition to that, both Patels can chip in with the occasional spell of finger spin, while Nelson Odhiambo has shown some glimpses of making the kind of all round contributions that made Thomas Odoyo (his uncle) and Maurice Odumbe household names in their pomp.
Anyway, having drifted downwards over the past few years, this tour represents an opportunity to set the rehabilitation of the cricket team into a higher gear. Surely grabbing any one of the 6 slots in the t20 preliminary round, and perhaps winning the one or both games against UAE is not too much to ask?
KENYA squad for T20 qualifiers: Rakep Patel (captain), Emmanuel Bundi (Ringeera), Narendra Kalyan (Patel), Irfan Karim (wk), Karan Kaul, Lucas Ndandason (Oluoch), James Ngoche, Shem Ngoche, Collins Obuya, Eugene Ochieng, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Nelson Odhiambo, Elijah Otieno, Morris Ouma (wk), Gurdeep Singh