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Injury worries for brave Kenyans
March 19, 2003 19:42 IST
Kenya were readying themselves for their most important match against India in Durban Thursday but injuries to a few key players was a worrying factor.
Skipper Steve Tikolo, Maurice Odumbe and Thomas Odoyo were all suffering from one or the other problem and not completely fit. So was opener Kennedy Obuya who had top-scored with 79 against India in the Super Six match.
Coach Sandeep Patil was hopeful that the players would be fit for Thursday's day-night game and suggested that they might play even if half-fit.
"They are all recovering and we are keeping our fingers crossed. Kennedy's elbow is sore, Maurice is having a problem with his thigh and Steve is also recovering from tonsillitis. Thomas has a groin problem," Patil said.
"But that's certainly not the excuse we would like to give. I am so proud of these boys. Against Zimbabwe also, they were not fit. But they did not complain or say anything but went on playing cricket," he said.
Patil said his players were aware of the tough task at hand but believe they can beat India.
"We have respect for the Indians but it is still a contest between bat and ball," he said, adding that his team did not have any problems going into the match as underdogs.
"There is nothing wrong in being treated like underdogs. I am aware of the strength the Indian team carries," he said.
Patil said his team had come up with a highly impressive performance in the tournament and felt confident while going into the semi-final against India.
"They have shown a lot of character which is important at this level. They lost three early wickets against Australia and then built on a good partnership," he said.
"Then the way Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist started, it was very brave for our boys to still come back and take those five wickets.
"It didn't happen only in that game against Australia. It happened throughout the tournament," he said.
Tikolo too was confident of his team's chances and said he was not overawed by India's reputation.
"I am not nervous. I am just looking at it as another game of cricket," Tikolo said. "It's a still a contest between bat and ball even though it is the semi-finals.
"It's no different from the rest of the games we have played."
Tikolo said his team had done well against India in the Super Six match and would continue to stick to the basics.
"We rallied to put 225 on the board and then reduced them to 24 for three. It's good to have those feelings going into tomorrow's game."
Tikolo, certainly the best batsman in the Kenyan side, also signalled a return to form with an attractive fifty in the last game against Australia.
"At no stage did I think my form was bad. I was hitting the ball nicely. It was only the wrong shot selection which was getting me out. Getting that 50 has given me a lot of confidence," he said.
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