ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Australia v Kenya, Group A, World Cup 2011, Bangalore

Australia's pace will be a big challenge - Waters

Brydon Coverdale in Bangalore

March 11, 2011

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Seren Waters drives square, Kenya v New Zealand, Group A, World Cup 2011, Chennai, February 20, 2011
Seren Waters' highest score in the World Cup so far has been 17 © AFP
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Players/Officials: Seren Waters
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: Kenya

Seren Waters might sound like the name of a peaceful spa retreat in the rainforest, but he'll need every bit of his inner calm on Sunday when Shaun Tait is bearing down from 22 yards. As Kenya's opening batsman, Waters has the task of deflecting Tait's 150kph-plus offerings, and if he survives that he'll be rewarded by facing Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson. Serenity now.

"I don't think there is another attack in the world comparable to that," Waters said. "They've got three of the quickest bowlers in the world and they're coming one after the other, so there's no real respite. It's going to be an experience."

An experience is one way of putting it. At the very least, it's something to tell his classmates when he heads back to Durham University, where he is studying human geography and has a full schedule of exams waiting for him in the middle of the year.

Waters has played for Surrey's Second XI but his cricketing future, like many of the Kenyan players, is in some degree of limbo. The ICC's decision to cut the next World Cup to ten teams means that even though Waters is only 20, he is well aware that this could be his first and last 50-over World Cup.

However, there may be a place for Kenya at World Twenty20 tournaments in the future, and if that happens then Waters will appreciate the experience of facing the likes of Tait. He nominates Shoaib Akhtar as the fastest bowler he has ever faced, having played Pakistan earlier in this competition, and is looking forward to testing himself against the Australians.

"Throughout the tournament all of us have faced bowlers we've never faced before," Waters said. "We came up against [Lasith] Malinga, who is unique in what he does, and [Muttiah] Muralitharan. Facing Australia is going to be a big challenge, because three bowlers that are bowling about 150kph consistently is something that none of us will have ever faced before."

The reality is that nothing is expected of Kenya on Sunday. They have played poorly in every match so far, even losing to Canada, and they face the very real prospect of completing a World Cup without winning a game for the second time in their history. In that environment, even a competitive effort against Australia would be seen as a victory of sorts.

"The three Test nations we've played we haven't really come close to giving them a game, so we'd hope to give Australia a good game," Waters said. "Winning would be something you'd probably dream about. Realistically, having seen the way we've played so far it's probably something not many people are expecting. But to give them a good game is our target. Throughout my childhood they've been the best side in the world, so the opportunity to play them in the World Cup is pretty special."

Adding to the challenge for Kenya, their most experienced player, Steve Tikolo, didn't train in Bangalore on Friday due to illness. The Kenyans have relied heavily on the veteran Tikolo over the years, but their future lies with young men like Waters. And Sunday's match looms as the biggest test of his short career.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 13 
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Posted by Dummy4 on (March 13, 2011, 3:25 GMT)

Although Australia aren't renowned for their spin options they seem to be building that side of their game slowly but surely. I thought Steve Smith's performance against Sri Lanka was impressive along with Jason Krejza. Although they arent as recognized as spinners from other nations such as Sri Lanka and South Africa, they are steadily improving and capable of surprising any unwary batsmen. As far as defencive seamers, Shane Watson is a very handy option who is adept at picking up breakthroughs in crucial periods with unnerring accuracy as well as reverse swing and subtle variations. On paper, South Africa's team is more highly credentialled however I would still have Australia as slight favourites ahead of South Africa for the World Cup simply for their history as a team of winning under pressure and having the most winningest captain (Ponting) in world cup history.

Posted by Tim on (March 12, 2011, 21:52 GMT)

@Rajorshi: In fact Johnson and watson is the only pace bowler involved in this tournement who was invovled in the ashes defeat. Lee had not recovered from injury and Tait is a one day specialist now days, so with Bollinger gone home injured from the WC it makes for a very different pace attack.. Not mention tests are entirely different to one dayers anyway...

Posted by Andrew on (March 12, 2011, 19:28 GMT)

@timmyc1983 - Steyn is the best pace bowler at the WC - no doubt about it. He isn't as good in ODIs as Tests though. As for Kallis - he is no better a bowler than Watto in ODIs. So Pace v Pace, Oz has the better attack, it remains to be seen whether the Oz method of going with pace versus playing 2 frontline spinners works.

Posted by Roshan on (March 12, 2011, 14:35 GMT)

One diamentional pace attack wont make them the world best. Seems like one toe crushing delivery from Malinga rattled you up. As an opener you have no choice but to get use to facing fast bowlers. These kind of meek statements makes Aussies go all over not only you but your whole team. In 1975 WC relatively unknown, non test playing small country gave Aussies who boasted of having most fearsome pace attack including Lilley and Thomo run for their money before the helmets were used in cricket. Aussies used their age old all kind of intimidation, sledging and tricks to defend 270 odd runs to finally winning by 40 some runs sending 2 well set batsmen to hospital. Ask Ian Chappell for confirmation and more information on that match. Kenya's cricket may prevail in the future or not what Kenya has to do is play as noyhing to loose and without any fear.

Posted by Ron on (March 12, 2011, 11:52 GMT)

I am sure he meant that there no other PACE attack that rivals the OZ's. Even, otherwise, raw pace alone does NOT determine how good an attack is. Spare a thought for Williams though, he seemed relieved to march off pronto when he got a toe crusher from Malinga! Replays showed that he was clealy not out but the general feeling was that he was hapy to get back to the safety of the pavilion! I think SL has the best bowling opions of all teams. What with even Dilshan picking up 4/4!

Posted by John on (March 12, 2011, 7:38 GMT)

@Rajorshi Kumar Sen, I'm not entirely sure what the Ashes (a test competition between two (2) sides) has to do with an ODI competition between fourteen (14) sides. And of the specialist bowlers in the ODI playing 11, only Mitchell Johnson played more than zero (0) tests in the Ashes, so basically....... I'm not sure what you're getting at.

Posted by Abhishek on (March 12, 2011, 7:30 GMT)

@Rajorshi Kumar Sen: how is it anywhere NEAR the same attack? the only player common to the 2 teams is mitchell johnson. neither Lee nor Tait played a part in the ashes, and test cricket is just a LITTLE bit different to ODIs. might i remind you who are ranked no. 1 in the world in ODIs.

having said that, SA's bowling attack are quite amazing. steyn and morkel especially.

Posted by Ajay on (March 12, 2011, 7:13 GMT)

Ashes loss was without bowlers like lee, tait and out of form johnson but right now johnson already bag 8 wickets in 3 matches and others are bowling well too.So difficult task for kenya to come over aussies.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 12, 2011, 6:40 GMT)

@Something_Witty It does not matter whether all Australian bowlers bowl at 150+ kmph or 100- kmph. The matter of fact is that England snatched away the Ashes from your own backyard against this very pace attack.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 12, 2011, 6:40 GMT)

@Something_Witty It does not matter whether all Australian bowlers bowl at 150+ kmph or 100- kmph. The matter of fact is that England snatched away the Ashes from your own backyard against this very pace attack.

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Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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