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News

Kenya's search for the next generation

Samir Inamdar, the chairman of the Kenya Cricket Association, is hoping the ICC's Winter Training Camp will fast-track his country's three players in attendance into the World Cup in 2007

Brian Murgatroyd
23-Nov-2005
Samir Inamdar, the chairman of the Kenya Cricket Association, is hoping the ICC's Winter Training Camp (WTC) will fast-track his country's three players in attendance into the World Cup in 2007.
Fast bowlers Nehemiah Ngoche, 22, and Alfred Luseno, 23, together with 20 year-old allrounder Kalpesh Patel, are among the 23 cricketers from six Associate countries currently in Pretoria on the 11-week learning curve.
Inamdar hopes that, for the Kenya trio, the curve will run all the way to the World Cup as the country looks to start the process of introducing youth into a squad whose average age is creeping ever upwards.
"It is why we sent these three boys to South Africa and Collins Obuya to Australia to work with legspin coach Terry Jenner," said Inamdar. "They are the young ones that we hope will be the mainstays of the side in the future but they need to be ready to step up at the World Cup if possible.
"We know we have an ageing side that cannot go on forever and we will do ourselves no favours if we just try and rely on only those players currently in possession. We have to give ourselves options so that if one player or another gets injured then we have the quality to step in and that is where the Winter Training Camp can really help by developing these players at an enhanced rate."
Inamdar's view was echoed by WTC head coach - and former Kenya coach - Andy Moles. "We have got three players here with real potential to be key figures in Kenya's national squad," he said. "Our role is to try and bring that potential to the surface. All three players have improved during their time at the WTC and if they continue with those improvements then they can give the Kenya selectors a real headache. That is one of the aims of the WTC - to broaden the base from which the selectors of each of the Associates represented here can pick from."
Moles said all three Kenya players had bought into the fitness and training regime in place in Pretoria, including the use of ice baths to aid recovery after exercise. The ice baths help the process of flushing out lactic acid - the substance that promotes stiffness - from the muscles but to Kenyans not used to the cold those baths have taken some getting used to.
"Most Kenyans would never have experienced ice or cold to that extent but, all credit to the lads, as they have embraced the concept and felt the benefit," he said. "They do not get in the baths with a smile on their faces yet but their extra incentive to keep doing it is that all the coaches have agreed to have an ice bath on the last day of the WTC - and the Kenyan lads are looking forward to watching us take the plunge."
Assessing the benefits the Kenya players have taken out of the WTC so far Moles said that they have all added an extra dimension to their fitness and that has helped their cricket. "Like most Kenyans they are very good at running and can run forever but we have introduced them to weights work to strengthen their bodies. They all found it difficult at first but now they have got a bit stronger and they are feeling the benefit. All three players are now finding themselves able to come back and bowl second and third spells more effectively and they are also bowling quicker than before."
The idea of unearthing a quick bowler, someone who is capable of making good players hurry in their strokes, is a key element in the development of any Associate side and there is a real hope Luseno may be able to fill that role for Kenya "Alfred Luseno is a major focus for us," said Inamdar. "Richard Done (ICC High Performance Manager and the man behind the concept of the WTC) told me if he develops properly he might scare a few people with his pace."
Head coach Moles offered his thoughts on the three Kenya players attending the WTC:
Nehemiah Ngoche - Nehemiah is a fantastic enthusiast who started the WTC by running in and trying to bowl as quickly as possible every ball. What we are trying to do is to teach him what they call in boxing terms "ring craft", that he needs to have some variation and some subtlety to his approach because if he just tries to bowl fast all the time then good batsmen will work him out and adjust accordingly . Nehemiah can swing the ball away from the right-hander although it is an area that he can improve on even further and we are also encouraging him to develop a slower ball and use the crease to vary his angle of delivery so he is not always releasing the ball from the same spot all the time. We are also working with him to improve his run-up so that is smoother and Nehemiah has had sessions with a running coach to do just that.
Alfred Luseno First and foremost, Alfred is a wicket-taker who is capable of getting good players from Full Member countries out. He is the quickest bowler here and he is also able to swing the ball away from the right-hander and that pace and movement are two great assets for us to work on and develop. Bob Cottam (the bowling coach at the WTC) has been working on his rhythm in his run-up, making sure he is balanced as he approaches the crease and also ensuring he keeps his left arm high in delivery and avoids falling away as he bowls so that he can improve his consistency and accuracy. Those two elements are keys for Alfred. He has not played against good players often enough so another part of our role is to educate him in the right areas to bowl against high-quality batsmen.
Kalpesh Patel - I saw Kalpesh when he played for Kenya at U-19 level and back then he bowled in a very similar way to Terry Alderman, the former Australia bowler. He got very close to the stumps as he bowled and looked to swing the ball away from the bat. Since then, he has worked with Mudassar Nasar (the former Pakistan Test allrounder who has coached Kenya) and has developed his ability to reverse swing the ball, which has added an extra string to his bowling armoury. The downside of that is that he has become a bit too reliant on reverse swing and what we are trying to do is to give him more confidence to bowl with the newer ball and swing the ball in orthodox fashion. We are also trying to get him to bowl mid-crease because he has the tendency to go wide of the cease when he bowls. Having said all that about his bowling, I think Kalpesh will probably develop into more of a batsman who bowls rather than a genuine all-rounder although it would be great if he could excel in both disciplines. As a batsman he is what you would call a busy player, short in stature but quite compact in his style and superbly quick between the wickets. In one sense Kalpesh is an allrounder already because he is a superb fielder, one of the best we have here at the WTC. He arrived late at the WTC because he was with the Kenya team on their tour of Zimbabwe and at the finals of the ICC Intercontinental Cup but you would never have known it because he has slotted into the group very easily and has become a really popular player with his peers and all the coaches. Kalpesh is a real team player and has the potential to develop and what he must now do is put the skills he is learning at the WTC into action in game scenarios.