Collins Obuya, the 29-year-old batsman, has been named Kenya's new captain in the latest of a series of moves aimed at revitalising Kenyan cricket. Jimmy Kamande was removed from the captaincy after Kenya's woeful performance in the 2011 World Cup, after which a performance review was conducted by Cricket Kenya.
They then excluded four of their senior players - Kamande, Peter Ongondo, Thomas Odoyo and former captain Maurice Ouma - from the list of contracted players for the next year. Obuya was one of the few seniors to survive the shake-up and was named captain a day after Kenya announced New Zealander Mike Hesson as their new coach.
Obuya was one of the few bright sparks for Kenya during the World Cup, during which they lost all their six group-stage matches. He scored a half-century against Sri Lanka and a 98 not out against Australia, and was Kenya's leading run-getter in the tournament. Obuya originally hit the headlines for his legspin bowling with which he picked up 13 wickets during Kenya's run to the semi-final of the 2003 World Cup. After struggling with his bowling thereafter, he has turned himself into a top-order batsman who bowls a bit.
Hesson and Obuya's first assignment as the new leaders of the Kenya team will be two limited-overs games and a four-day Intercontinental Cup game against United Arab Emirates. The first 50-over match is on July 25.
Kenya Cricket chief-executive Tom Sears said Obuya's performances at the World Cup were one of the reasons for his being named captain. "Collins is now an extremely experienced and accomplished player who can set the standards on and off the field," Sears said. "He has demonstrated at the World Cup what can be achieved by Kenyan players on the international stage, and as captain he has a big role to play in taking the national team forward."
Kenya's new list of contracted players includes several young players and Obuya said he was looking forward to leading them. "We have some very good players and some very talented ones coming through our system," he said. "It is an exciting time to captain a developing team, and work with our new coach Mike Hesson and chairman of selectors Alpesh Vadher."