Kenya relishes return to South Africa, says Suji

Published: Tuesday, October 28, 2008, 10:57 [IST]
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The Kenyan cricket team is relishing a return to South Africa this week to play two one-day internationals, hoping the series would aid in the revival of the game, the team manager said Monday.

Five years ago, Kenya made a cricketing breakthrough by reaching its first-ever semi-finals of the World Cup in South Africa but hope was shredded by prolonged squabbling.

Deputy team deputy coach Martin Suji, a former national team seam-bowler, believes the appointment of former South Africa Test star Peter Kirsten as a batting specialist, had brought a new life to the struggling side.

"Kirsten has brought some spice to the batting," said Suji. "We now have a positive team that includes a number of up-coming youngsters and the boys are geared up for the series. They want to prove themselves."

The first of the two matches will be played in Bloemfontein on Friday with the second two days later in Kimberley.

Suji said Kenya may have lost the chance to move to ninth spot in the ICC one-day rankings during the recent home series against Zimbabwe and Ireland, which was washed out but would still enhance their position by winning in South Africa.

"We are looking forward to the challenge of South Africa, a Test-playing side which is more technically sound than us but the boys are hungry to get to the ground," he added.

The series will see the two sides' hard-hitting pace bowlers -- Peter Ogondo of Kenya and South Africa's Makhaya Ntini -- going head to head.

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