ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Kenya v Pakistan, Group A, World Cup 2011, Hambantota
Tikolo confident of Kenyan revival
Sa'adi Thawfeeq in Hambantota
February 22, 2011
Steve Tikolo, the Kenya batsman, has said the respect Pakistan have for his team should motivate it to bounce back in its next game on Wednesday. Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain, had warned Pakistan against taking Kenya lightly, saying the team would have to be at full strength for its opening World Cup encounter.
"It's good to hear that the opposing captain has respect for the Kenyan team," Tikolo told reporters in Hambantota. "I'll pass that message to the boys so obviously tomorrow the guys will be pumped up. We are here for look to play good cricket and be competitive."
Kenya suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of New Zealand in Ahmedabad in their first game of the World Cup, capitulating for 69 before being thrashed by 10 wickets. Tikolo, while admitting there were a number of inexperienced players in the side, was confident of his team's ability to spark a revival.
"We have a good side a mixture of experience and youth. We have quite a number of young players who have not played in a World Cup before, but very talented.
"The teams that we had in the previous World Cups were teams that had played together since 1996 to 2003 and had gelled well. But if you look at this team we've been together for a short while but it's a talented side," he said.
Kenya was one of the strongest Associate members of the ICC, but since 2003 they've experienced a decline. "We did well in the 2003 World Cup, qualifying for the semi-finals, but we had our own internal problems. Obviously things could have been handled better management wise but right now I don't really want to dwell into that. I just want to look at this World Cup and move forward from there."
Tikolo, last year, had indicated he would not play international cricket again after a dispute with the board but was back in the frame for a place in the national team in August. "What brought me back is the pride of playing for my country," said Tikolo. "I've been around this team for long and playing for this team gives me a lot of pride."
This is Tikolo's fifth World Cup and the highlight so far for him was Kenya's defeat of West Indies in 1996 in Pune. "It's special to win against any Test team but for me what stands out is the 1996 win against the West Indies simply because it was our first time at the international scene and most of us growing up had looked at West Indies as our role models.
"Just to be on the same ground with them was something special and to beat them was extra special."
When asked about the ICC's plan for a ten-team World Cup in 2015, Tikolo said the best way for Associate teams to improve was to play cricket at the highest level on a more regular basis "We don't want to dwell on that right now. Tomorrow we just need to go out and believe in ourselves and our skills and play positive cricket.
"Sri Lanka weren't a top side in the world but once they got opportunities you can see what Sri Lanka is today. Bangladesh they were not a strong side but once they got Test status you see what cricket they are playing right now. It's about playing more games at the top level and playing against better opposition that makes you better."
Tikolo filled in for Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande at the press conference. Kamande was unable to speak to reporters after being hit on the face during throwdowns at practice. However, he's been ruled fit for Wednesday's fixture.
"Jimmy had swelling on his right cheek and he was unable to talk and did not attend the media conference," Kenya's team manager Arjun Vidyarthi said. "Jimmy is being treated with ice and the injury is not all that serious. He will be fit to lead Kenya in their match tomorrow."
Since the retirement of Sri Lanka's big two batsmen there has been a lot of talk about what the new-look line-up needs to do, but the end product has been harder to find