Kenya exit World Cup; Captain says more international fixtures needed for experience

GROS ISLET, St Lucia, March 25, 2007 (AFP) – Kenya captain Steve Tikolo said it was vital the Africans played more major international matches if they were to progress as a cricket nation after they went out of the World Cup with a seven-wicket defeat against England.

Whoever won Saturday’s clash at the Beausejour Cricket Ground were assured of joining Group C winners New Zealand in the Super Eight stage of the tournament.

But although the experienced Tikolo scored 76, after winning the toss and batting, no other Kenyan made more than 17 as they were bowled out for 177 in a match reduced by rain to 43 overs per side.

“We need more games. I’ve been saying this since time immemorial,” a frustrated Tikolo told reporters. “You can’t come here without playing at this level consistently.

“If you look at our calendar now we have the Twenty20 World Cup (in South Africa) in September. But between now and September there’s nothing for us. You can’t compete like that.”

Tikolo said the Test nations had to make room in their own schedules, drawn up in response to the International Cricket Council’s 10-year plan if the likes of Kenya were to improve their standards.

“I think our board has been talking to the ICC but the excuse we always get is that the