Barry Silah @obel_barry
Kenya Under-19 cricket team is confident of a good performance in the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup slated for Christchurch, New Zealand next year even as they intensify their preparations.
Head coach Jimmy Kamande, who named a strong squad of 15 players for the January 6 to February 4 tournament is hoping to pull off some upsets just as they did to earn qualification.
“We want to go out and have fun and while at it learn. The plan is to be the top associate nation to enter the latter stages and I am confident the boys have psychological preparedness to handle the pressure,” said Kamande of the 16-team tournament where Kenya will be making a return after 13 years.
Kenya are in a tough group alongside defending champions West Indies, hosts New Zealand and 2014 champions South Africa. They will play two ICC-accredited warm-up matches against Canada and India on January 9 and 11 in Christchurch before the event bowls off proper.
The team, which leaves Kenya on December 28, is also slated to play two friendly matches against Australian franchise side Sydney Thunders on January 3 and 5. The juniors have already featured in invitational tournaments in Rwanda and Zimbabwe apart from playing a couple of matches at home against the senior select team.
Kenya will open their campaign against South Africa on January 14, before taking on New Zealand three days later. This will be followed by a final group fixture against West Indies on January 20 with the top two teams from each group progressing to the quarter-finals while the bottom two enter the plate event.
Team Kenya has skipper Sachin Bhudia, Thomas Ochieng, Ankit Hirani, Abhishekh Chidambaran, Aman Gandhi, Aveet Desai, Dennis Musyoka, Gerard Mwendwa, Jasraj Kundi, Jayant Mepani, Maxwell Ager, Sukhdeep Singh, Jay Doshi, Rene Were and Siddharth Vasudev.