Kenya news August 18, 2010

Tikolo back in the frame for 2011 World Cup

Cricinfo staff
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Months after walking out on the team and indicating he would not play international cricket again, Steve Tikolo has announced his availability for the 2011 World Cup.

Tikolo, who was one of the former players who led the strike on the eve of Kenya's abandoned England tour, met with board officials at the weekend after which he signalled his willingness to resume playing for his country.

Although he has previously said he would consider playing for Kenya again, he has always insisted he would only do so if certain conditions he laid out were met. It is unclear whether the board, in the light of a series of dismal results in recent months, has backed down and agreed to his terms.

"'We have met with Steve and he is fully committed to representing his country," Cricket Kenya's new chief executive Tom Sears said: "Steve is one of a number of players we are talking to about their availability for the World Cup and beyond.

"Obviously results have been extremely poor in recent months and we have to address that. Ensuring we are selecting from the widest possible pool of eligible players is just one of the steps we are taking. All players will be selected on form, fitness and other criteria and Steve is fully aware that he, or anyone else, is not an automatic selection and he will have to play his way into the squad. What is really pleasing is that he has declared he is willing to fight his way into the team and has rediscovered his desire to play international cricket."

Tikolo said he was "glad [to have] the opportunity to add value to the national team if called upon". He continued: "It's been frustrating and disappointing to see the poor results recently but I don't expect to walk back into the team based on what I have done previously, I will be working hard to put in the performances that earn me a place on merit."

Eldine Baptiste, Kenya's coach, added: "He is a high-quality player and if he can reach the standards he has set previously he will be an asset to the squad. We are in the process of putting together a comprehensive preparation plan between now and the World Cup to address our problems and make sure we can achieve our potential as a side and as individuals. "There is still time for us to put things right and go to the World Cup and perform at our best, we are not doing ourselves justice at the moment, we know that more than anyone, and we need to work together to make sure results improve."