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Steve the ‘wonder’ man for Kenyans

Kenya legend Steve Tikolo’s long journey in international cricket is coming to an end at the ground he has fond memories of. Nikhilesh Bhattacharya reports.

cricket Updated: Mar 20, 2011 01:49 IST
Nikhilesh Bhattacharya

Kenya legend Steve Tikolo’s long journey in international cricket is coming to an end at the ground he has fond memories of.

Although his last visit to Eden Gardens 13 years ago saw Kenya lose to India by nine wickets in the final of a triangular series, Tikolo still remembers the atmosphere.

“It is nice to be playing (my last match) at Eden Gardens. I remember, my first game at Eden Gardens was the final of the Coco-Cola Trophy in 1998 against India which was something special for the players with a crowd of over 80,000,” Tikolo said a day before his final match, against Zimbabwe.

‘Want more matches’

Tikolo picked Kenya’s progress to the World Cup semifinals in 2003 and the shock win over the West Indies in 1996 as the highlights of his career.

He does not agree with the ICC’s decision to shut out Associate nations from the next edition of the quadrennial event. “We don’t get to play enough. I played international cricket for 16 years and only played 130-odd one-dayers.

“To spread the game globally, you’ve got to bring in more teams. If it’s going to be a closed shop, there’s no point in calling it the World Cup.”

Tikolo is now looking to go into coaching, starting with his franchise in Zimbabwean domestic cricket where he has been offered the job of an assistant coach.

Any regrets? “The ultimate in a cricketer’s career is to play in Tests. That is one thing I would have loved to do: play Test cricket.”