Fri, Feb 25, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Coach Baptiste urges Kenya team to refocus

UNWANTED RECORD:Kenya’s coach said his team needed to get back to basics after his bowlers conceded 46 extras, including a one-day record-equalling 37 wides

AFP, HAMBANTOTA, SRI LANKA

Kenyan coach Eldine Baptiste said he would have to go back to the drawing board after two crushing defeats but insisted it was too early to write off the World Cup minnows.

Kenya went down to a huge 205-run defeat in their second Group A match against Pakistan on Wednesday, conceding 317 for seven before they were dismissed for just 112, with Shahid Afridi taking five wickets.

Baptiste, who took over as coach in September 2009, said his players urgently needed an injection of self belief.

“On the big stage I know these boys can do that, and I have to drive the confidence in them for the remaining four matches,” said Baptiste, whose team were shot out for 69 in their 10-wicket defeat against New Zealand on Sunday.

Pakistan were indebted to four half--centuries after struggling early in their innings, crawling to just 12-2 after seven overs, a good position Baptiste said his team squandered.

“We did show some improvement from the last game against New Zealand as we started well bowling-wise in the first 25 overs, but again we slipped in the middle and were very poor in the end,” Baptiste said.

Kenya’s bowlers conceded 46 extras, including a one-day record-equalling 37 wides.

“We were not up to the mark in all three departments and in cricket whatever you do you have to stick to the basics and when you play a team like Pakistan or any international side you don’t spurn your good starts,” he said.

“It’s about being persistent and at the moment we are just not doing that,” said Baptiste, who played 10 Tests and 43 one-day internationals for the West Indies.

“As a coach I know my responsibilities and I have to go back to the drawing board and again make sure that the guys are up for the next game against Sri Lanka,” he said.

Baptiste admitted his job as coach of Kenya was difficult.

“When I took the job I knew the enormity of it and I know that I have to go and get the 15 guys to revive their self-belief, because you cannot play cricket like that,” he said.

When asked whether his team’s dismal showings justified the decision by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to cut the next World Cup to 10 teams from the current 14, likely freezing out the smaller nations, Baptiste hit back.

“What is the reality?” he asked. “The reality is that we have played two bad games and that’s easy to say that, but you have to look at the way Holland played.”

The Netherlands pushed England hard in their clash in the Indian city of Nagpur after notching an impressive 292-6. England squeezed home by six wickets with just eight balls remaining.

“So when we play bad games, it’s no credit, but when we play well they must give credit. Cricket is a funny game and we can stage a comeback, provided we stick to basics,” Baptiste said.

POLICE CLASH WITH FANS

REUTERS, BANGALORE, INDIA

Police battered hundreds of fans with sticks outside Bangalore’s M Chinnaswamy Stadium yesterday as anger at the lack of tickets on sale for the World Cup clash between India and England boiled over.

Thousands had camped outside the stadium since Wednesday hoping to get their hands on one of the 7,000 tickets on sale for Sunday’s game. Violence erupted after the allocation sold out in three hours.

“The biggest challenge we face today is to meet the expectations of the people, that is not possible, that is never possible,” former player Javagal Srinath, who is now the secretary of the Karnataka Cricket Association responsible for the Bangalore match, told a news conference.

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