Kenya August 18, 2010

Desperate times ...

On the face of it, the return of Steve Tikolo to Kenya’s side for the 2011 World Cup has to be a rare flicker of good news in a dismal year for cricket in the country

On the face of it, the return of Steve Tikolo to Kenya’s side for the 2011 World Cup has to be a rare flicker of good news in a dismal year for cricket in the country. Officially he will have to fight his way back into the team. However, Kenya's recent performances have been so dire that he could walk back in even were he to bat left handed.

However, great player though he undoubtedly was, there were some who were far from unhappy when Tikolo quit. They felt that his powers were on the wane – as can only be expected from a man who will be 40 next June – and his presence in the side led to others taking the mindset that even if they failed, Tikolo would bail them out. Without him, so the argument went, others would have to stand on their own two feet. Recent performances suggest that's something beyond them.

When Tikolo indicated earlier in the year he might return but only on his terms he riled board officials, and then he sprung up as a ringleader of the strike which led to Kenya’s short tour of England being scrapped, benefiting nobody and further denting Kenya’s tarnished international standing. There appeared no way back.

But so desperate are Kenya to avoid humiliation in the World Cup – and any other matches that come their way in the build-up – that the board now appears to be trawling round former players to try to bolster their hapless team. While it is nothing more than short-term clutching at straws, there appear few alternatives.

If Tikolo the cricketer returns to the fold then it can only benefit his team and the younger players. If the character who has been associated with factionalism and unrest comes with him, then the move could well have unwelcome long-term consequences.

The only hope is that the board’s desperation is not so great they consider calling Maurice Odumbe in for a chat.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jake Kamuzu on August 26, 2010, 15:55 GMT

    If Tikolo and Maurice are still out performing the younger talent in Kenya then they should continue to play in the big tournaments. CK just has to work harder on its development programs.

  • basanga on August 23, 2010, 12:44 GMT

    I totally agree with MW on his article, has CK really come down on its feet just because of one player who use to deliver not any more and is injury prone, this is a mockery of the board, how sure are you his gonna give a 100% after his recent involment in nearly tarnishing not only the name of the country but the game which he calls first love.

    I have kept my fingures crossed.

  • Jake Kamuzu on August 26, 2010, 15:55 GMT

    If Tikolo and Maurice are still out performing the younger talent in Kenya then they should continue to play in the big tournaments. CK just has to work harder on its development programs.

  • basanga on August 23, 2010, 12:44 GMT

    I totally agree with MW on his article, has CK really come down on its feet just because of one player who use to deliver not any more and is injury prone, this is a mockery of the board, how sure are you his gonna give a 100% after his recent involment in nearly tarnishing not only the name of the country but the game which he calls first love.

    I have kept my fingures crossed.

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  • basanga on August 23, 2010, 12:44 GMT

    I totally agree with MW on his article, has CK really come down on its feet just because of one player who use to deliver not any more and is injury prone, this is a mockery of the board, how sure are you his gonna give a 100% after his recent involment in nearly tarnishing not only the name of the country but the game which he calls first love.

    I have kept my fingures crossed.

  • Jake Kamuzu on August 26, 2010, 15:55 GMT

    If Tikolo and Maurice are still out performing the younger talent in Kenya then they should continue to play in the big tournaments. CK just has to work harder on its development programs.