NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 29 – The ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup provides the experience of playing in a top-level international competition to participants including Kenya and its importance is felt most by cricketers from the associate sides.
Kenyan Player Collins Obuya, who was a prominent player of the side that made the semifinals of the 2003 ICC Cricket World, shares his thoughts about the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup and how it helped shape his career.
“It made me believe in myself and have the desire to play on the big stage. The exposure was fundamental because it prepared me on what to expect in future, if I went on and played in bigger stages,” Obuya, who comes from a cricket family noted.
“It’s a great exposure for players, especially from associate nations because that’s the first point to gauge their game against Test teams. Most of our players who played in the under-19 World Cup and performed well took those lessons to the national team. The experience at that level goes a long way in building a player,” Obuya added.
The national Cricket team that is coached by former player, Jimmy Kamande departed the country on Friday for Sydney, Australia where they will play two friendly matches against Sydney Thunders before heading to New Zealand-the World Cup venue, January 7.
Kenya is in a tough Group A where they will battle it out with defending champion West Indies, hosts New Zealand and 2012 winners South Africa, but captain Sachin Budhia is optimistic they will overcome, revealing that their intention is to take a match at a time.
“It’s definitely a great opportunity for us to participate in the ICC U19 World Cup. We would like first to finish as the top associate team in the 2018 ICC U19 World Cup, but more importantly, not look too far ahead but take each game, one at a time,” Budhia said.
Kenya, who alongside South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia are the Africa teams, will fight it out for the World Cup trophy with other top nations in the 16 nation global showpiece.
Kenya has qualified for the ICC Under-19 World Cup on four occasions – 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2018. Overall, Kenya has won 5 out of 17 of its World Cup matches, with a best performance of 11th place in 1998.