Former national team captain Maurice Ouma returned to the national team as Cricket Kenya unveiled a 15-man squad for the ICC Africa Twenty20 Division One qualifiers starting on Saturday in South Africa beginning. The team departs tomorrow morning for the South Africa show.
Ouma was named in the team alongside young seamers Emmanuel Bundi and Eugene Ochieng. A five-man selection panel, however, ignored the opening bowler Nehemiah Odhiambo over claims of indiscipline.
Also left out of the squad are former skipper Jimmy Kamande and spinner Jadavji Bhimji. The two, alongside Odhiambo were part of the team that took part in ICC World Cricket League Division Two Championships in Namibia in January this year. Ouma was replaced by Kamande in Namibia tour but the latter failed to justify his selection.
Bundi and Ochieng have been in and out of the national team and their inclusion could be plan by the technical bench led by Steve Tikolo and Martin Suji, to build a youthful team. Speaking after training, Tikolo didn’t divulge more on Odhiambo’s omission but warned that they will not tolerate indiscipline. “We will not mind who is not doing the right thing. Discipline in the team is a must and everyone must toe the line. We are not going to look at experience or age when it comes to instilling discipline,” he said.
Opener Alex Obanda, who has continued to struggle at the big stage despite his talent, has been retained in the squad for the high-profile continental event that will see the top two teams qualify for the global qualifiers.
The squad will be captained by Rakep Patel and the selectors have opted for five seam bowlers. They are –Elijah Otieno, Lucas Oluoch, Nelson Odhiambo, Bundi and Ochieng.
The squad has two specialist spinners in Ngoche brothers–Shem Obado and James Otieno with Rakep Patel and Collins Obuya backing them up.
Despite the failures of youthful Gurdeep Singh at the international level and lately during the U19 World Cup Qualifiers in Tanzania, the selectors have kept faith with left-handed Sikh Union opener.
Narendra Patel, who has been impressive in the last few matches for Kenya, has also won the selectors confidence and he is expected to play a key role with the bat. Other batsmen in the squad are Rakep, Irfan Karim, Collins Obuya, Obanda and Ouma. The ICC Africa Twenty20 Division One qualifiers serves as a qualifying event for this year’s ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers, which brings together winners of regional qualifying events. Associate teams that will earn automatic qualifications are Afghanistan, Nepal, UAE, Netherlands, Hong Kong and the event’s co-hosts, Ireland and Scotland.
The ICC World Twenty20 qualifiers has been scheduled to take place from July 6 to 26, with 51 matches to be played among the 14 participating nations.
From the 14 teams, the top six qualifiers will progress to the first qualifying round of the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 finals, where they will meet the 9th and 10th ranked full members in the ICC T20 Intercontinental championship on April 30 last year. This year’s ICC Africa Twenty20 Division One qualifiers will also involve Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Botswana.