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January 10, 2006
Harper, who will spearhead Kenya's preparations for the 2007 World Cup, quit as manager of the West Indies Under-19 side last week. He was recently shortlisted for the Kenya post after a number of candidates, including a former coach of a Test-playing side, were interviewed by the Kenyan Cricket Association (KCA) and the ICC.
"It was a tough decision, but I am looking forward to the challenge, looking forward to getting back on the coaching circuit with Kenya," Harper said. "I'm delighted and very excited at the opportunity to work with a Kenya side that has a fair amount of talent. My objectives now are to get the best out of individual players and the team as a whole and to move Kenyan cricket forward." He is expected to leave the Caribbean for Nairobi later this month.
Kenya have been without a full-time coach since Moles walked out, but former Pakistan allrounder Mudassar Nazar has been filling the void. He was understood to have also been shortlisted for the post.
Samir Inamdar, the KCA chairman, said Harper will bring many qualities to the role: "Roger's coaching credentials are extremely impressive, not just in terms of working with players but also on the technology side of the game. Also, his attributes as a splendid player in all disciplines - batting, bowling and fielding - mean he has hands-on experience to help coach those aspects of the game."
One of the main problems facing Harper is that Kenya are finding it almost impossible to arrange fixtures against other leading countries. Even though the ICC is known to have contacted a number of major boards asking them to see if they can fit in games against the Kenyans, the response has been poor. It was hoped that three one-dayers against Bangladesh could be played in early February, but a senior Kenyan official admitted that the chances of that now happening were rapidly diminishing as there had been no contact from the Bangladesh board.
Harper coached West Indies from 2000 through to the end of the 2003 World Cup, but it was a difficult period as the side adjusted to their diminishing status. Under his tenure they won nine and lost 19 of the 39 Tests they played.
As an offspinner, he played 25 Tests and 105 ODIs for West Indies between 1983 and 1996 and was regarded as one of the greatest fielders of his generation.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.