Chennai, Feb 19 (IANS) Kenya skipper Jimmy Kamande has warned that if anybody wants to take Kenya or a lower-ranked team lightly, then it will be at their own peril, since the so-called minnows are capable of tripping the front-runners at the ensuing Cricket World Cup.
“Nobody should take any team, especially those lower-ranked, lightly as I believe we have the ability to cause upsets,” said Kamande at a pre-match media conference here Friday.
“We have been preparing hard for the past couple of months. We toured India, trained in Dubai and played practice games in Sri Lanka. So, we have done whatever we can and tomorrow, we will play our own brand of cricket and enjoy ourselves.”
Without getting into technicalities, Kamande said his team has shown improvement in the recent times and that the players are well prepared for the World Cup.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s Group A game against New Zealand, Kamande said: “New Zealand are a good side. They might have had bad series recently, but they are like wounded lions. They will come hard at us.”
Fielding coach Jonty Rhodes pointed out that in the recent matches, a couple of their batsmen had scored centuries and also given the natural athleticism of the Kenyans, the team was primed for the World Cup.
“We have focused on two key areas – fitness and fielding. Some of these guys can win a gold medal at the Olympics in 800 metres. I feel the side that puts in a good effort in fielding will go through the tournament.
“We have also guys who can get hundreds. Recently, (Steve) Tikolo and (Seren) Waters scored centuries,” Rhodes said.
Regarding the hot weather conditions prevailing here, Rhodes opined that the Kenyans were not perturbed as they had toured India and Sri Lanka besides training in Dubai.
“If anyone will be affected by the weather, then it will be New Zealand whose summer is like your winter here,” he said.
Coach Eldine Baptiste, the former West Indies fast bowler, was quite emphatic that Kenya will be no pushovers.
“We can cause a few upsets. Cricket is played on the field and not in press conference rooms,” he said when asked whether he had set any targets for his team.