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Anyone who hoped Kenya’s wretched performance at the ICC World Cricket League Division One in the Netherlands was no more than another minor glitch can now be in no doubt the magnitude of the problems facing the side.
For all the positive spin coach Eldine Baptiste might put on things, the stark reality is Kenya are now in the same position Bermuda were four years ago. With a World Cup looming they are woefully deficient in every department of their game and face sound thrashings at the hands of New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
In four limited-over matches over the last fortnight against decent but far from awesome representative sides from Gujarat and Baroda, the Kenyans were outplayed in all but one game, and even that they lost by 32 runs. They were barely competitive.
The greatest humiliation came when they faced Gujarat in a four-day game, aimed at preparing the Kenyans for the Intercontinental Cup. They were bowled for 221 and 295, of which Collins Obuya 199 in his two innings. In reply, Gujarat amassed 710 for 4 before calling off the slaughter. Spare a thought for PK Panchal, Gujarat’s opener who was run out for 0 and so missed out on the feast.
To underline this is a deep-rooted malaise, a Kenya Elite side were bowled out for 65 and 99 in a total of 67 overs by Baroda, who replied with 210 for 3 to win by an innings in under four sessions.
In 2006 I wrote that Bermuda had too much to do ahead of the 2007 World Cup and they had to face the reality they would be utterly outclassed and instead of worrying they should concentrate on building for the future and retaining their Associate ODI status. The same now applies to Kenya, but the picture is, if anything, even bleaker.
Bermuda were new kids on the block and had been blinded by money and their sudden burgeoning status. They were also amateurs. Kenya, a fully professional (if only in the financial sense) have no such excuses, but their problems are so deep-rooted it is hard to see how, at least in the short term, things can get any better.
Time is against them, but they can no longer blame contracts, coaches or facilities for their position. They are dogged by infighting – the factions have been there for years – greed and an inability to recognise they are simply not good enough as things stand.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and AfricaFeeds: Martin Williamson
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.