ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Australia v Kenya, Group A, World Cup 2011, Bangalore
Australia's pace will be a big challenge - Waters
March 11, 2011
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.