'Odumbe's absence will affect our performance' - Tikolo
Steve Tikolo, the Kenyan captain, has said that the loss of Maurice Odumbe was a severe jolt to cricket in the country. He was reacting to the five-year ban imposed on Odumbe by the Kenyan Cricket Association, after he was found guilty of accepting money from bookmakers.
Tikolo, who is currently leading the team in a tri-series against India A and Pakistan A, said that the news of Odumbe's suspension had cast a pall of gloom over the whole team. Reuters quoted him as saying: "The players are down after getting news of the suspension. Odumbe has been an integral part of this team and his absence will affect our performance in the future."
While describing the ban as "unfair", Tikolo said that he viewed Odumbe as one who had always given his best for his country. "I have known Odumbe for a long time and he always gives 100% in his appearances."
Sharad Ghai, the chairman of the Kenyan Cricket Association, said that there was no immediate plan to call up a replacement for Odumbe in Kenya's squad for the Champions Trophy. "Odumbe's lawyer has indicated that he will appeal and we are waiting for the outcome before making any decision regarding his place in the team. We are not in a hurry to replace him."