Vol. 5 Num 923 Sun. December 31, 2006  

Kenya playing seriously

Kenya's cricket coach Roger Harper said Friday that none of the six associate member teams would be underrated at next month's ICC World Cricket League first division tournament in Nairobi.

He said he expected the tournament to be a close contest between the six teams: Bermuda, Canada, Holland, Ireland, Scotland and hosts Kenya, all of which have already qualified for the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies.

"It is difficult to underrate any of the teams," said Harper, a former West Indies spinner. "They have all qualified for the World Cup. They are all pretty good."

The tournament, which will be played on a round-robin basis at three venues in the Kenyan capital, will also have an added incentive as the two top teams will qualify to take part in the first ICC Twenty20 World Championships in South Africa next September.

Kenya, stripped of its one-day international status by the ICC last year, will start as favourites to clinch one of the two places by virtue of being the top non-Test playing nations.

A squad of 30 players resumed training for the tournament earlier this week and the final squad of 15 is expected to be named at the weekend.