October 11, 2008

ICC Intercontinental Cup

Kenya aim for outright win

Tony Munro

Tony Munro

Kenya will be playing for a win in the Intercontinental Cup match against Ireland starting in Nairobi on Saturday despite needing just a draw to qualify for the final.

"My approach is to always play positive cricket and the Kenyan team will approach the game in this frame of mind,” Andy Kirsten, the coach, told Cricinfo. “There are a few scenarios which will see us reach the final, but the most clear one is to go and win the match, so that is what we aim to do.”

While Kirsten felt the batting, especially among the younger players, sometimes lacked in patience. However, the recent matches against the Pakistan Academy had aided their learning curve.

"The main problem, and it has been around for many years not just this year, and is also to be found in most Associate countries, has been one of patience. We gained valuable match practice [against the Pakistan Academy] in the four-day format, and witnessed how to approach batting in the longer version and the importance and value of shot selection, patience and partnerships in building big scores."

He echoed the captain Steve Tikolo's view that it was hard to develop successful habits under the present playing environment. "The lack of consistent and regular international matches is also a major problem"

On the opposition, Kirsten said Ireland was more than a collection of talented players.

"They have several individuals who have performed well in recent times and they are a well balanced unit, but I think their main strength at present has been their success as a team. The Irish are renowned for their fighting spirit and probably start this game as favourites, but they are on foreign turf and we will not make life easy for them."

When asked about the challenges of coaching Kenya, he spoke of the sport's status within the country.

"The biggest challenge has been trying to work in an environment that receives very little support from the rest of the country, such as the private sector, cricket supporters, government, and media."

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