Kenyan cricket February 10, 2009

Tikolo calls for improvement

Cricinfo staff

Steve Tikolo, 37, has played at four World Cups for Kenya © AFP

Steve Tikolo, the Kenya captain, has said the team will have to pull up their socks before the ICC World Cup Qualifier in South Africa in April. Kenya will be among 12 teams battling it out for a place at the 2011 World Cup in the subcontinent, with the top four progressing.

"There was very little improvement on our side," Tikolo told the Daily Nation after the team's recent 5-0 ODI loss to Zimbabwe. "We have to work hard on all the departments of the game: batting, bowling and fielding."

Zimbabwe won all the games by convincing margins, barring the third ODI when the visitors were reduced to 103 for 5 chasing 235. "To cut the flow of runs you must take wickets and to get runs one has to stay long enough at the crease and we are not doing that, " Tikolo said.

He felt the team had to score at least 250 to have a chance against Zimbabwe - the best they managed was 234 in the third match in Nairobi. Alex Obanda's unbeaten 96 in the fourth ODI was the best score in the series but Kenya still managed only 219 - the second-best score was 29. Peter Kirsten, brother of Kenya coach Andy, has been working as a batting coach with the team.

Kenya will train in Benoni, South Africa for ten days as part of its preparation for the qualifiers which will be held in the same country. Cricket Kenya chief executive Tom Tikolo said the trip was courtesy Cassim Suleman, Africa Cricket Association's chief executive, who came forward to help the team after a training camp in Cape Town, organised by coach Andy, was shelved due to financial constraints.

"The team will come back for a week after which they will return to South Africa where they will spend two weeks at the High Performance Centre in Pretoria," Tom Tikolo said. "The squad will remain there for the qualifier."

Kenya have been drawn in Group B along with Netherlands, Bermuda, UAE, Denmark and Afghanistan. They kick off their campaign with a match against Netherlands on April 1, the opening day. The top four from each group makes it to the Super Eight stage.

Kenya have made it to the last four World Cups and were surprise semi-finalists in the 2003 event.