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March 5, 2012
News : Di Venuto can make a difference - Bonora
News : Netherlands' improvement will surprise teams - Borren
News : T20 qualifiers chance for PNG to leave mark - Dikana
News : World T20 could rejuvenate Bermuda cricket - Hemp
News : Collins Obuya named Kenya captain
Martin Williamson : Kenyan board right to dump old guard
News : Kenya's new contracts cut ties with the past
Features : Kenyan cricket continues to regress
Players/Officials: Collins Obuya
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier
Kenya will aim to use the World T20 qualifier to springboard back to the top level in world cricket. They have fallen into decline since being regarded as the best non-Test nation at the turn of the century and now look to return to former glories at the tournament in the UAE, which begins on March 13.
Kenya reached the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup, losing to India, but the banning of Maurice Odumbe in 2004 began a decline that sent Kenyan cricket spiralling into the wilderness. Their recovery leading up to the 2011 World Cup also proved a false dawn, with Kenya losing all six of their matches and descending into another series of reforms. They are now bottom of the ICC ODI rankings.
But with the old guard removed and 30-year-old captain Collins Obuya the oldest member of the squad, Kenya could finally be about to mount a challenge to scale world cricket once more.
"It is very important for us to reclaim our pride and place as one of the top Associate sides and show that we are a force to be reckoned with," Obuya said. "Whatever happened last year was a great lesson and that's why we moving on from the debacles by rebuilding the team. We want to make a statement with our performance and even if we don't qualify we want to have positives that we can draw from."
Kenya have been in drawn in group B of the World T20 qualifiers and will face Ireland once more. The countries met in a Twenty20 series in Mombasa in February, and Ireland won all three matches.
Obuya is less familiar with his side's other opponents. "We know very little about Oman and Italy as this will be our very first time against them," he said. "But we are not taking these teams lightly as it tends to be the unknowns that cause the upsets in these events and we hope to apply ourselves well when we play them.
"We watched USA play in 2010 when we met in the last World T20 Qualifier, they are a good side and we hope our game will be a good one. As for Namibia, Scotland and Uganda they are all sides we have met several times and they will all provide tough matches for us."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Graeme Smith was the last of South Africa's old guard. The roots of the new one need to grow deeper