Kenyan cricket April 17, 2009

Tikolo to bow out before 2011 World Cup

Cricinfo staff

Kenya captain Steve Tikolo, who has played in four World Cups, has said he will not play in the 2011 World Cup. In Tikolo Kenya had a batsman of genuine class at the top of the order with a wide range of strokes and the void will be a massive one to fill when the side meets bigger teams in two years.

"My legs are going now and I'm getting a little too slow. I think it's time to let the youngsters come through," said Tikolo after Kenya's win over Ireland in the ICC World Cup Qualifiers. "I will probably play until the end of this season but I will not be around for the next World Cup. There is plenty of young talent coming through in Kenya so I think the time is right for me to step away."

Kenya's latest win, on the back of an embarrassing loss to Namibia earlier this week, has ensured them a place in the next World Cup. Kenya have been a fixture in World Cups since 1996 and came in to the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in South Africa confident of securing a 2011 berth with a top-four finish.

"I am very happy we qualified - that was our main goal coming here so that is good enough for me," said Tikolo. "I think we outplayed Ireland today. The guys came to the ground today very determined and we wanted it badly so that was encouraging, especially considering our poor performance against Namibia two days ago."

Tikolo, 37, has been the mainstay of the Kenyan team for near 15 years. Kenya first hit the headlines, beating West Indies in Pune in the 1996 World Cup. They had an impressive run in 2003 in South Africa, reaching the semi-finals after beating Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Tikolo, with 3168 runs at an average of 31.05 in 116 ODIs, has been at the heart of Kenya's challenge to stay within touching distance of the Test nations.