Kenya captain Patel upbeat as U-19 team jets out to India

Vishil Patel during the Continent Cup T20 Africa Men's Tournament at Nairobi Gymkana club. Monday June 19, 2023. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya U19 men's cricket team left the country yesterday for a ten-day high performance training camp in India.

The trip is meant to prepare and inspire the team ahead of the final round of the ICC World Cup Qualifiers, set for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on July 23-29.

The 18-man squad will be based at Omtex Cricket Institute in Mumbai where they will be trained by some of the finest tacticians from across the globe.

Elated team captain Vishil Patel said the trip will give them a holistic view of the game; from fielding, batting and bowling at the same time make them have a deeper appreciation of the value of strength and conditioning as a squad.

"This kind of preparation is good for us, as a captain the trip gives me an opportunity to seek further knowledge regarding the game," Patel told Standard Sports.

"I expect to learn tactics from the professionals who will be training us which I hope to implement in the World Cup Qualifiers in Tanzania," he said.

"Training in a new environment like India, with different players from a cross the world will help us to build capacity which will be key in our quest for glory in Tanzania.

"We are definitely grateful for this rare opportunity that has been provided to us by Cricket Kenya (CK) and the government," Patel said.

Before heading to India, the team was in non-residential camp in Nairobi for two months.

CK Chief Executive Officer Ronald Bukusi said the government has funded the Mumbai trip to a tune of Sh2.7 Million.

"Kenya will also engage in high profile friendlies with other nations who are also camping in Mumbai ahead of their various qualifiers," Bukusi said.

Bukusi said CK chose India as their high performance destination due to a number of reasons including weather, diplomacy and costs.

"The weather pattern is almost similar to Dar where the World Cup Qualifiers will be held. If we had missed India, then we could have gone to Mombasa to acclimatise due to same weather conditions," he said.

Bukusi said Kenya has a long standing relationship with India so it was easy to tap into this good will to  connect the trip.

"India is also the foundation of cricket in the world, it's relatively cheaper to go there for training rather than Australia for the same," he said.

The Kenyan team is expected to get a cutting edge training from certified coaches in India who have turned around fortunes of youth and senior teams from a cross the world.

"We are very confident the boys will pick up techniques that will give them an edge over other opponents in Dar," said Bukusi.

The team is expected to jet back to the country on July 15 where the squad will be trimmed to a final 14 before they leave for Tanzanian.

Bukusi said the federation will strive to maintain the current U19 squad at all cost as it will act as a feeder to the national team.

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