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Cricket is played on grass â€" Odoyo

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th May 2003 03:00 AM

THOMAS Odoyo, one of Kenya’s World Cup heroes, has said Uganda can only improve their cricket by playing on grass wickets.

THOMAS Odoyo, one of Kenya’s World Cup heroes, has said Uganda can only improve their cricket by playing on grass wickets.

By Ronnie Kintu and
Reuben Olita

THOMAS Odoyo, one of Kenya’s World Cup heroes, has said Uganda can only improve their cricket by playing on grass wickets.
The star bowler said the wicket at Lugogo, puts Ugandan players at a disadvantage when they go to compete abroad, on the standard grass surfaces. Ugandan cricket is played on astro-turf.
“There is a big difference between the two wickets. The balls get off very fast on an astro-turf, on the grass they do not bounce that much,” the 25-year-old Odoyo told The New Vision.
Odoyo said the astro-turf gives abnormal bounces and turns.
“It is much easier to swing the ball on a grass wicket than it is on an astro-turf.”
He said, that explained their difficulty to bat easily during their three game tour at Lugogo, and advised UCA to give Kenyan groundsmen short term contracts to transform the sport.
Uganda’s senior and U-19 teams defeated a select Swamibapa team 2-1 in a three match series that ended at Lugogo on Sunday.
Odoyo was on the select Swamibapa club side that toured Uganda.
Swamibapa came along with four players fresh from the World Cup. They were led by opening batsman Kennedy Otieno, Peter Ongondo and Tony Suji.
Odoyo said Ugandan cricket authorities should take advantage of the big pool of young talented players they have, by introducing at least four grass wickets and seeking One Day ODI status.
“It is useless playing such good cricket without the ODI status, it is high time Uganda puts the requirements in place to obtain the status and the boys will enjoy their careers,” Odoyo added.
Kenya has ODI status and qualifies automatically for the World Cup. Their players are paid salaries by the board.
UCA have in the pipeline a plan to construct four grass wickets at Lugogo, Entebbe, Kyambogo and Jinja ovals.
Castle Lager, sponsors of the national cricket league, will partially fund the programme. The project will start off at Entebbe.
“We (Castle) are very proud to be associated with the best run national association in Africa and look forward to giving a hand in any kind of development,” Andrew Chappell, Castle Lager cricket liaison officer, remarked.
Castle are leading sponsors of soccer and cricket in Africa.
Also on the Kenyan tour was the ICC development officer for East Africa Tom Tikolo.
He stayed behind to conduct three coaching clinics in the east, west and central regions.
The Kenyan-based officer is currently in Mbarara meeting schoolboys at Ntare. Other residential academies will be at Jinja SSS and Kings College Budo.

- The NARC government in Nairobi has acknowledged Kenya cricket captain Steve Tikolo’s plea and offered team players duty free vehicles and promised to waive taxes on the team's recent ICC prize money in South Africa.
Sports minister Najib Balala said Monday he had written to finance minister David Mwiraria to have the US$530,000 prize package exempted from tax.
On Tuesday, Tikolo said he was perturbed at how slow the Kenya Cricket Association was pursuing the issue of their prize money. Kenya were the first non-test nation to reach the World Cup semi final stage.
Ends

Cricket is played on grass – Odoyo

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