Associates March 26, 2007

Associates need more high-profile matches

Steve Tikolo, Kenya's captain, has pleaded for more international exposure for his side, as well as the other leading Associates.

Steve Tikolo, Kenya's captain, has pleaded for more international exposure for his side, as well as the other leading Associates.

Kenya exited the World Cup after losing to England on Saturday, but Tikolo said that unless the major countries agreed to play the Associates, then the standards would never improve.

"You need more high-level games," Tikolo said. "You can't come here without playing at this level consistently. If you look at our calendar now, what we are expecting is a Twenty20 World Cup in September. Between then and now there's nothing for us.

"If you want the Associates to come up, you have to give them more games, it's as simple as that."

Kenya, like the other Associates, have struggled to persuade the major nations to play them. In the last year, Kenya have played 18 ODIs, of which all have been against the Associates or Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Bangladesh, who themselves struggle to get fixtures against major countries, have been co-operative, while Zimbabwe are believed to have come under intense pressure from the ICC to actually take to the field.

Kenyan cricket was boosted by Tikolo's assurance that he was not ready to retire. "I want to play for Kenya for the next few years to see this team develop into a fine unit," he explained.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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