The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Training with Aussies a highlight for Kenya

The biggest impediment to India winning the Cup will be India themselves. Provided they beat Kenya, there must be loads of self-belief as they are the only team with the all-round strength to win the final. This will be one of those scary games. The one you know you should win but you are scared you might lose. Bit like the short putts in golf!

India has little to gain but much to lose. For Kenya there’s absolutely nothing to lose.

No one expected Kenya to get this far. Least of all the Kenyan players. What has surprised the most ardent Kenyan fan has been the energy and commitment shown by these cricketing Davids. They knew the Goliaths would outgun them so they set out to even the contest by throwing themselves at everything in the field.

On top of that they have shown considerable discipline to bring them within one game of playing in a World Cup final.

Along the way, the Kenyans have savoured every moment. Apart from their matches against some of the top players in the world, one of the highlights was training with the Australian squad. Who knows how much they learnt from the experience of the likes of Ponting, Hayden, Gilchrist, Lee and McGrath, but they enjoyed every minute of rubbing shoulders with the world champions.

Every member of the Kenyan squad plays cricket for a past time, much like the majority of players who were present at the first World Cup in 1975. The game, however, has moved a long way in the past 28 years and most of the participants play professional cricket, earning large sums from the game and commercial endorsements.

What the Kenyans have reminded us of is that it is still, after all, just a game that is meant to be played for enjoyment. Their achievement has embarrassed some of the high profile teams who appeared to take themselves too seriously and are now watching from the sidelines.

Can they beat India' I do not think so, for the gulf between the two sides is extensive. Add to this the big game experience of the Indians and you have a mismatch of gigantic proportions.

The challenge for India is not to get too far ahead and start planning for the final. Many a sportsman has come undone by thinking of the next shot, game or round before completing the one at hand.

It is important that all Indians make a pact that each will take responsibility to ensure the team wins. India can set the foundation for a winning recipe for the final if they do this against Kenya, for this is exactly the type of commitment that will be required in the final.

Bowlers will need to bowl line and length, batsmen will need to build partnerships and fielders will have to run the ball down as if each a run saved could be the difference in the game.

India will have some uneasy moments before the semi-final gets underway on Thursday, but once the game starts they need to switch on to execute the basics of the game in a professional way. If they do, they will be too strong for the magnificent part timers from Kenya. (PTI)

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