At the midst of winter, a foggy day in the Kathmandu valley with a cup of black coffee at the writing desk, my pen is reliving the moments that cricket is going to bring in this colorful week in Nepal. It’s Kenyan team with the hope of raising their fallen heights in International Cricket. On the other part of the story are the hosts who are willing to fight in front of their 15000 fans inside the stadium. Apart from them some 10000 more are expected to be at the venue with some of them already set to get into the trees, roof and gather to support their heroes. Seeing the current scenario the Nepalese team would love to beat the Kenyans in their home condition.
I have been pausing a lot while writing this article as I am remembering those magical years 1996 and 2003 for Kenyan Cricket that took cricketing world by storm of a young bunch of Kenyan players. I just got a flashback of a delivery that took Great Brian Lara by Surprise in 1996.
Kenyan Cricket in the 1996 ICC World Cup
Everything was in control of West Indies in that game as they bowled out Kenya for mere 166 in the 50th over. The start was not fascinating for Kenya in the 2nd innings as their wicketkeeper was finding it difficult to collect the balls in his huge palms. When I used to play cricket in my backyards with my uncle made one thing clear that in cricket just a wicket in the right time will win you matches. so as it happened to West Indies after the price wicket of Lara as score card saw a massive turnaround. He blasted a cover drive to tell the Kenyans that until he was on the crease things were not easy as they imagined. As Lara was cut behind to a loose ball and very unlikely execution from the maestro, a cluster of batsmen followed after him in the dressing room. In no time they slide down from 56/5 to get bundled out for 93 runs in the 36th over which marked the tiny footstep of young Kenyans who had nothing to lose after their 1st win in limited overs cricket over a giant nation of world cricket. The headlines of the news that followed after this shocking victory by the Kenyans read as “Kenya Beat Undercooked West indies” in the local newspapers.
Photo: Phenomenal Nepali Cricket lover at Kritipur Ground During ACC T20 Elite Cup Final – 2013, Nepal Vs Afghanistan.
Kenyan Cricket in the 2003 ICC World Cup
Kenya got yet another chance to prove themselves after they were given a chance to host the biggest arena of world cricket along with South Africa and Zimbabwe. This particular world cup yielded more fruitful results than it promised. Sachin Tendulkar, a synonym of God in the cricketing world proved his worth as he had a wonderful world cup. After Sachin’s yet another sublime world cup, Kenya was in the center of attraction after beating some major names and qualifying for the semi-finals of the world cup. As they started the tournament at a low point after being thrashed by the power packed South African team by 10 wickets. Similarly, they did the magical effort in front of their home fans after beating the inevitable Srilankans in Nairobi by 53 runs. Although the fairy tale ended at Sahara Stadium in Durban after the loss against India, Kenya has already made an impact on bringing back an impact for generations to follow. But unfortunately, the instability in their cricketing structures and match fixing issues took all their achievement making it come back from where everything began some 14 years ago.
Kenyan Cricket at Kirtipur, 2017 ICC World Cricket League Championship
Now it’s fresh March for Kenya not only in their cricketing Calendar but also in their Country’s fame in the International arena. Even though not so bigger stage but one important stage in Nepal, Kenya will be giving their heart out as they have always in history to get on top from the lowest level. As marked frequently in the article of Tim Wigmore in www.cricinfo.com, the poor domestic structure, and fabricated stats to show the fake improvement of the cricketing body are pulling the craze of cricket in Kenya. Similarly, they are fighting against poverty and corruption which is making cricket doom in this potentially equipped nation. As Tim remarkably calls them the Icarus of Associates, they are ready to roar against some of the young talents like Sandeep Lamichhane, Dipendra Singh Aairee and so on. The return of the Saptari tiger as the fans of Mehboob Alam calls him and the pillar of Nepali batting order as their skipper Paras Khadka. The Nepalese team is equally balanced to give Kenya the toughest fight. A fight with Gurkhas to save the pride of proud African nations would be a one that every Associate Cricket fans are waiting for.
The final preparation just came to an end and with that its less than 48 hours for the TU gate to be opened at 9.00 with thousands of Nepali flags, red & blue face paints with an echo reverberating along the stadium as Nepal – Nepal would be one ready to be captured pictures of the match day. Nepalese team would love to create history in their backyard while Kenyans would hit back as hard as it is practicable. With this, it’s time for me to pour next cup of coffee and doom into my next imagination.
The End is always a new start, though.