Kenya skipper Shem Ngoche hails Nepal series as new dawn for Kenyan cricket
Kenya captain Shem Ngoche has hailed the current bilateral cricket series with Nepal as a new dawn for the game in the east African nation after a seemingly endless slump.
Series Stats - Nepal tour of Kenya 2022
Kenya are hosting the Nepalese in five T20s and three one-day games, the first at home in nearly 10 years, as they look to put their decline amid governance issues and political wrangles behind them.
Nepal won the T20 series 3-2, but Ngoche believes the spark has been lit for Kenya to recapture the competitiveness that brought a historic run to the 2003 World Cup semi-finals.
"Winning two games is a big achievement for us," Ngoche told AFP.
"The T20 series have been effective for the Kenya team which has lacked high-quality opposition for too long."
Ngoche hopes the team will win the first one-dayer at the Nairobi Gymkhana club on Friday to boost confidence of clinching the limited-overs series.
After the series, seven Kenyan players will be picked to play in the inaugural Nepal T20 franchise league which starts on September 24.
The Kenyan team will also make a reciprocal tour of Nepal in September.
After the heroics in 2003, when Kenya became the first non-Test nation to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, the country's cricket went into free fall, showing little sign of recovery.
Most of the senior players, including those who participated in the World Cup, retired at the same time, leading to a national team collapse because of the lack of young skilled players coming through.
But fresh elections and the appointment of former Kenya Under-19 opening batsman Manoj Narshi Patel as Cricket Kenya chairman in February have brought a new impetus to the game.
Manoj has promised to return Kenya to the one-day international format, to qualify for the 2024 T20 World Cup in the United States and the West Indies and restore the game's battered infrastructure and popularity.
"We look forward to introducing a World Standard T10/T20 league, and a plan for player development in Kenya," Manoj told reporters when he launched a new T10 tournament in Kenya.
Manoj believes the conditions are right for Kenyan cricket to bounce back, with an abundance of talented young players and a good grassroots infrastructure.
"We are fortunate that apart from South Africa we have the best cricket infrastructure in Africa," he said.
"We have four international recognised cricket pitches and several other local grounds where the game can be played."
©Cricket World and AFP 2022