Why Devani is eager to build a name for himself in Kenyan cricket

Manav Devani at Peponi school in preparation towards ICC U19 Africa qualifiers in Nigeria. September 22, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya U19 men’s cricket bowler Manav Devani is eager to put his life on the line as the team heads to Abuja, Nigeria for the ICC Africa Division 2 World Cup Qualifiers that starts tomorrow. 

Devani has reiterated that  the 16-man contingent will leave no stone unturned in West Africa as Kenya navigates the tough waters to return to top flight cricket; become a continental powerhouse again. 

“We are out to do our best, we will put our best foot forward in Abuja, we are going to push beyond our limits to ensure we proceed to the next round of the qualifiers to be held next year,” Devani told Standard Sports. 

“Basically, our target in Abuja is to win all our innings, and be among the top three that will go for the final battle in the Division One Qualifiers in March.” 

The 17 year old Mombasa Oshwal Academy student believes the six month training the team has had will give Kenya an edge in the tournament that bats off tomorrow. 

“The training has helped both the Nairobi and Mombasa players selected to gel well, we have bonded, we now know each other, we are sticking together. 

“The relationship is strengthening day by day, it has made the team quite a formidable force,” he underlined. 

The Mombasa Sports Club medium-based bowler is of the opinion that the squad should perfect its bowling, fielding and batting techniques in order to be invincible in the Abuja competition. 

“It is great that the coach and the technical bench are trying to find everyone’s perfect place in the team, but nonetheless we are good to go,” he said. 

Devani admits that he is over the moon to make his international debut for Kenya. 

“It’s such an amazing feeling to don your country’s jersey, it’s like a dream come true,” said Devani. 

“There is nothing as thrilling and as frightening as knowing that the success and the failure of a country simply lies within your shoulders. 

“This definitely makes you very responsible and patriotic as you know your actions have the power to impact a country either positively or negatively.” 

Devani is grateful to his father Akash for introducing him to the sport at seven years old. 

Since then, he has been a member of the Mombasa Sports Club where he has grown and developed. 

He is currently steering the side in the Coast Cricket Association 50 Over League and the  NCBA Mombasa Cricket T20 League. 

“Because of my height I chose to become a medium-based bowler because this is quite a natural position for me. I’m able to swing the ball very easily,” he said. 

Despite his father Akash being a force to reckoned with in swimming and badminton where he represented Kenya in many international contests, Devani has taken a different path which is cricket and he is eager to establish a name for himself. 

“The only foot step from my dad that I want to follow is law. I want to be a lawyer when I grow up,” he said. 

Devani is greatly inspired by the right handed Indian cricket batsman Virat Kohli. 

He believes the former Indian national team captain is the best in the world in the category, an act that inspires him to reach similar heights in the game someday. 

Even though his career in cricket is just starting, Devani has won multiple school tournaments in the U11, 13 and 16 categories with the Oshwal Academy Mombasa. 

He has also bagged the CCA and the NCBA leagues with Mombasa Sports Club, in the 2020 and 2021 seasons. 

Among the benefits he is enjoying for playing cricket include personal discipline, networking, total respect for each other and an amazing fitness. 

He is advising any one eager to join the sport to have total dedication and mental and physical strength. 


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