Tikolo back in confident mood

Updated on Mar 20, 2003 12:52 PM IST

Kenya captain Steve Tikolo said he had regained his confidence ahead of the semi-final against India after a poor run of form.

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PTI | ByReuters, Durban

Kenya captain Steve Tikolo said on Wednesday that he had regained his confidence ahead of the World Cup semi-final against India after a poor run of form.

The team's leading batsman, he top-scored with 51 in the five-wicket Super Six defeat against Australia on Saturday, after averaging 14.14 in his previous seven games.

"Scoring that fifty here (in Durban) has given me confidence," he said. "It was just my shot selection.

"At no stage was I afraid I had lost my form. I was hitting the ball nicely."

The 32-year-old has made 1,598 one-day runs at an average of 29.05, including one hundred against Bangladesh and 13 fifties, since making his debut against India in the 1996 World Cup.

Against Australia, Tikolo had to dig deep after being hit several times by short-pitched deliveries from fast bowlers Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.

"It is about being tough mentally," he said. "Otherwise people will walk all over you. I told myself I'd rather take it on the body than get out."

Tikolo, at one stage regarded as good enough to play for front-line international sides, said he had never been frustrated by playing for a weaker team but added he had been disappointed not to get an offer to play club cricket in England.

"I have spread the word around. Probably a Kenyan name does not sell," he said.

Tikolo, who has played on despite suffering with fever and tonsillitis, hoped the team's fine run to the semi-finals would lead to more games against top international opposition between World Cups. Kenya were offered just 18 games between 1999 and 2003.

"Probably it has come late in my career. But this will help upcoming youngsters to get more internationals," he said.

Tikolo is one of 20 players contracted to the Kenyan Cricket Association, earning a top salary of $1200 a month. The lowest category player is paid $400.

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