ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Kenya v Zimbabwe, Group A, World Cup 2011, Kolkata
Disappointing farewell for Tikolo
March 20, 2011
Steve Tikolo, the Kenya batsman, bowed out of international cricket on a disappointing note as his team exited the 2011 World Cup without a win to its name. Kenya were comprehensively beaten by Zimbabwe in their last game, and Tikolo managed only 10 in response to an imposing 308. Zimbabwe and Canada were opponents Kenya would have had a realistic expectation of beating at the start of the tournament, but they found themselves at the receiving end of defeats in each of those games.
"I'm very disappointed as this was our last game of the tournament and we wanted to put in a good performance," Tikolo said at the end of the game. "We know we didn't do that, especially with the ball up front. And in our batting we lost wickets at regular intervals and we weren't able to build any meaningful partnerships."
Tikolo led Kenya in the match following an injury to regular captain Jimmy Kamande. He was trapped in front by Ray Price and walked back to the pavilion to applause from the Zimbabwe players and the smattering of spectators across the sprawling Eden Gardens. It was an emotional exit for Tikolo, who in a recent interview with ESPNcricinfo had admitted that Kenyan cricket was "at its lowest ebb" at the moment.
Tikolo represented Kenya in 134 ODIs and was their captain in the 2003 World Cup when they qualified for the semi-finals, beating Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe along the way. He was also part of one of Kenyan cricket's finest moments, when the national team beat West Indies in Pune in the 1996 World Cup.
"There have been ups and downs but I've enjoyed every moment," Tikolo said of his career. "I represented my country with a lot of pride and that was the case whenever I went out to play.
"If the younger players move forward from this World Cup, take the positives and work on the negatives, that will be a good thing."
The lack of exposure against the top teams has cost Kenya, Tikolo said. "In 2003, we had a team that had been together since 1996. We gelled well as players and had been playing good cricket all along, and had fought well against top teams.
"Things changed after 2003 as we hardly played top teams. I think we last played Pakistan in 2004 and Australia in 2003. When you meet them in big tournaments it does not do your confidence any good."
He added that Kenyan cricket's domestic structure had to change to make the country's cricketers more competitive. "Back at home, we need to revamp the local structure. Youngsters need to play three-day and four-day cricket."
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.