26 September 2012

Kenya: Former Vice Captain to Coach Domestic Cricket

The veteran Kenya all rounder Thomas Odoyo has called time on his 16-year international career after being appointed assistant coach of the national cricket team. The former national team vice captain will now shift his focus on coaching and domestic cricket but he not play for the national team, which he has served since the 1996 World Cup. This development brings to rest, speculation that the opening bowler was planning to return to the national team to lead them through transition.

"I have done enough for the national team at the international stage and I want to concentrate on coaching and guide upcoming players to stardom. We have few up coming up players and having played at the highest level, it's my obligation to ensure we have more players coming through the ranks through the best training," Odoyo said, adding: "If it's playing, I will only play domestic cricket."

ICC Intercontinental Cup match against Namibia in Windhoek will be the former Nairobi Gymkhana and Ngara captain's first assignment as the assistant coach. Odoyo, 34, made the first of 120 ODI outings in 1996 and went on to become one of the most feared bowling all rounder among the associates of his generation. He has a century, six half-centuries, 2,167 runs in the 50 overs and 124 wickets to his credit.

Odoyo played in last year's ICC World Cup in the subcontinent before he fell out with CK over contractual issues. He was denied a contract to continue serving the Kenya and immediately took up coaching alongside team-mates Steve Tikolo and Jimmy Kamande at the Mombasa Cricket Academy.

He was a ball boy at Gymkhana as a kid but after he was allowed to play, he never looked back. He is among the players who have contributed to the success of the game in the country. Having represented Kenya in the 1996 World Cup, Odoyo's performances have since been critical to the team. His powerful batting throughout the middle-order and his seam bowling has earned him a nick name 'Black Botham'.

Odoyo has since formed a bowling partnership with Martin Suji. In 1997-98, he set a then-world record ODI seventh-wicket stand of 119 with Suji's brother Tony. "It's been 16 years since I made my international debut for Kenya and I think it is the right time to move on. As a youngster, it was my dream to represent the country and it took a lot of pride to wear the Kenyan jersey." Odoyo was the first and only Kenyan bowler to achieve the double of 50 wickets and 1000 runs and the only one to have reached 100 wickets.

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