|Saturday, 19 January 2002|
Star-studded Kenyan team to tour Sri Lanka
by Sa'adi Thawfeeq
A star-studded Kenyan team led by one of their most experienced cricketers Maurice Odumbe is scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka on January 23 for a seven-match tour which is expected to enhance their chance of gaining full membership of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Odumbe's team of 16 players are all experienced in one-day internationals with the exception of Peter Ogunda, who is the only uncapped player. The international ruling body for the sport, ICC has given Kenya full one-day international status in a bid to encourage them towards gaining Test rankings. From that aspect the tour to Sri Lanka is an important one from Kenya's point of view.
Many of the players in the team have either played in Sri Lanka in the 1996 World Cup or against Sri Lanka in the 1999 World Cup in England and when the Sri Lanka 'A' team toured Kenya last year. Kenya has also qualified to play in the next World Cup in South Africa in 2003. Players in the calibre of Maurice Odumbe, Steve Tikolo who has played in all the 43 one-day internationals Kenya has been involved in, Ravindu Shah and Thomas Odoyo are the most experienced players in the team with over 40 one-day caps. Hitesh Modi runs them close with 37 appearances. Although Kenya's cricket has largely been of the one-day variety where they have shocked quite a few Test sides like West Indies in the 1996 World Cup, it is in the three four-day unofficial Tests against the Sri Lanka 'A' side that their performances will be finally judged. They are coached by former Indian all-rounder Sandeep Patil.
The series commences at the Sara Stadium on January 31 followed by the second 'Test' at Matara on February 7 and the final 'Test' at Dambulla on February 14. Their tour itinerary apart from the unofficial Tests also includes three one-day games in Kurunegala, Moratuwa and the NCC, and also a two-day limb loosener against a Development Squad at the Police grounds, Bambalapitiya on January 27.
The Kenyan team for the tour of Sri Lanka: Maurice Odumbe (captain), Steve Tikolo, Ravindu Shah, Kennedy Otieno, Hitesh Modi, Thomas Odoyo, Martin Suji, Otieno Suji, Lameck Onyango, Sorongo Ababu, Brijal Patel, David Obuya, Joseph Angara, Peter Ogondo, Collins Obuya, Mohamed Sheikh, Harilal Shah (team manager), Sandeep Patil (coach), Sharad Ghai (chairman, Cricket Committee).
Sri Lanka 'A' squad to meet Kenya
The national selectors have picked a 20-member squad from which the Sri Lanka 'A' teams for the three unofficial Tests and three one-day internationals against Kenya will be selected. The squad comprises eight Test players and three one-day international players and will be coached by former Test cricketer Roshan Mahanama with another former Sri Lanka cricketer Hemantha Devapriya as his assistant.
The Sri Lanka 'A' squad: Ian Daniel, Pradeep Hewage, Avishka Gunawardena, Michael Vandort, T.M. Dilshan, Chamara Silva, Prasanna Jayawardena, Upul Chandana, M. Pushpakumara, Rangana Herath, C. Mudalige, Prabath Nissanka, Ruchira Perera, Dinusha Fernando, Gayan Wijekoon, Pulasthi Gunewardena, Upekha Fernando, Sajith Weerakoon, Kaushalya Weeraratne, Anushka Polonowita.
Polonowita to lead emerging squad
Anushka Polonowita, the son of former Sri Lanka cricketer Anuruddha Polonowita will lead the Development Squad in the two-day practice match against Kenya at Police grounds, Bambalapitiya on January 27 and 28. The selected players are requested to report for practice on January 25 at the NCC grounds.
Development Squad: Jehan Mubarak, Dhammika Sudarshan, Rally Tissera (w/k), Anushka Polonowita (captain), Tilina Kandambi, L. Malinga, D. Gamage, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Amila Perera, D. Lokuhettige, Malintha Gajanayake, Rashan Peiris, Mahesh Perera.
Kenya tour itinerary
Jan. 23: Arrival
Jan. 27-28: v Development Squad at Police grounds
Jan. 31-Feb. 3: 1st Unofficial Test v Sri Lanka 'A' at Saravanamuttu Stadium
Feb. 7-10: 2nd Unofficial Test v Sri Lanka 'A' at Uyanwatte Stadium, Matara.
Feb. 14-17: 3rd Unofficial Test v Sri Lanka 'A' at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium.
Feb. 21: 1st Limited Overs Match v Sri Lanka 'A' at Welagedera Stadium, Kurunegala.
Feb. 23: 2nd Limited Overs Match v Sri Lanka 'A' at De Soysa Stadium, Moratuwa.
Feb. 25: 3rd Limited Overs Match v Sri Lanka 'A' at NCC grounds.
Feb. 26: Departure.
Produced by Lake House