ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Kenya v Zimbabwe, World Cup 2011, Kolkata
Do it for Tikolo, urges Kamande
March 19, 2011
Kenya captain Jimmy Kamande has urged his team to give veteran batsman Steve Tikolo a fitting send-off against Zimbabwe at Eden Gardens on Sunday. Tikolo, 39, has been an integral part of all five of Kenya's World Cup campaigns and has announced that he will retire after the current tournament, the match against Zimbabwe his last for Kenya.
"We call him 'Gunnzie' (one who bats like a gun)," said Kamande. "He is a legend. He is the man, actually, who made me play one-day international cricket and he is the one who made us qualify for the first time in the 1996 World Cup. I remember watching him play in the qualifiers in 1995 and we owe a lot to the guy. Hopefully, we will send him off with a win."
A towering figure in Kenyan cricket and for a time widely held to be the best batsman outside the Test arena, Tikolo played his first representative match for Kenya against Zimbabwe in Nairobi in 1993 at the age of just 21 - a match that Kenya actually won by three wickets - and top-scored with 65 in Kenya's first ever World Cup game, against India at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack in 1996.
He was also part of the Kenyan team which pulled off an upset win over West Indies in that tournament, and captained Kenya to the Semi Finals of the 2003 competition. Kenya's leading runscorer in ODIs by a distance, Tikolo has amassed 3,411 runs, including three hundreds, and has also taken 94 wickets with his offspin.
Kamande also expressed his disappointment over Australia captain Ricky Ponting's remarks that Associate cricketing nations shouldn't be involved in the World Cup. "What is disappointing is that someone like Ricky Ponting saying that Associates don't need to be here (in the World Cup)," said Kamande. "We need to keep improving and all we need to do is to play good cricket.
"This tournament is a stepping stone for Kenyan cricket. A lot of guys here have never been to the World Cup, we know what it takes to achieve here, whatever we gain, we take it back home with us and try to improve our performance."
Kamande suggested that his side desperately needed more top-class matches in between World Cups to raise standards."One thing I know for sure is that if we keep playing against the Test-playing nations or their 'A' sides the [improved] performances will be there. But the thing is after this World Cup you might go and never see these teams again so it becomes very difficult.
"If we're going to prepare to play Australia again [in a World Cup] in the next five or 10 years it's going to become very difficult for us [without] regular matches." Since their successful 2003 World Cup campaign, Kenya have played a meagre 12 one-day internationals against the top Test-playing nations, with none at all in the two years leading up to the current competition.
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For New Zealand's wild child, there is probably no better place than county cricket right now