May 8, 1999

Kenyan captain, Asif Karim once again at the crossroads

The last time Kenya captain Aasif Karim faced a career path dilemma he chose correctly, a decision which ultimately has led him to his present status of skipper of Kenya's World Cup cricket team

The last time Kenya captain Aasif Karim faced a career path dilemma he chose correctly, a decision which ultimately has led him to his present status of skipper of Kenya's World Cup cricket team. And now as he oversees Kenya' s second visit to the game's premier stage, he faces a new quandry.

Back in 1993, Karim had to decide, forgo a tennis career which had earned him a four-and-a-half-year scholarship to the United States and later Davis Cup representation, or persist with cricket, a sport at that stage not quite part of the national fabric.

"The cricket assignments increased with the national team so I stuck with cricket.," Karim said this week.

While that decision was ratified by a World Cup appearance as a player and this one leading his country, again the 35 year-old finds himself at the crossroads.

"I am an insurance broker and have a couple of businesses. I will think things over after the World Cup.

Karim said this World Cup would contrast markedly with his country's 1996 debut.

"Totally different. '96 was a novelty. We felt like we were in with the big boys. Since then we've had a lot more experience.

"We have reached three finals of tournaments we have played in - October 1997, May 1998 and March this year. We know we can win."

He said Kenya was not yet ready to for elevation from one-day international status.

"Our bowling is not quite strong enough yet. These days there is plenty of quick bowling," Karim added.

Aasif will provide an insight from within the Kenyan camp to this column during his country's World Cup campaign.