Kenyan Tikolo bids to recapture his reflexes

Published: Thursday, February 6, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Nairobi: At the height of his powers, Steve Tikolo could rely on his quick eye and good reflexes to pile up runs that earned him respect as one of Kenya's best batsmen. He set the country's best batting league record of 1,004 runs in 1993 when he eclipsed the five-year-old mark established by India-born professional Jaydeep Mathur for local side, Premier Club.

He was 50 runs short to make 2,000 runs in 1994, the year he set Kenya's One-day record of 206 runs before he was snapped up by South African provincial side, Border, to replace the West Indian Otis Gibson in 1995. At the 1999 World Cup in England, Tikolo finished 10th among the top 20 batsmen in the first round, with an aggregate of 167 runs. But in recent years, the prolific batsman has toiled hard with the bat. "Cricket, being the unpredictable game that it is, one does not always stay at the top all the time.

It has its ups and downs," said the right-hander. He was to rekindle his magic wand during a brief professional stint in Bangladesh with the Mohammedan Club in 2001, which he joined following a domestic row with the Kenyan cricket authorities. Despite the lack of teamwork, when Kenya comes up against big opposition, Tikolo has gone on to achieve half centuries He is one of two players, along with fast bowler Thomas Odoyo, who have featured in 51 of 52 matches Kenya has played since gaining One-day status.

He has scored 1,448 runs at an average of 30.80 in 39 innings with one century and 12 half centuries. He has also taken 28 wickets. Having taken over the captaincy from Maurice Odumbe last year, Tikolo hopes to lead his team to become the first ever non Test-playing country to reach the Super Six stage in the World Cup.

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