Patel talks Kanbis Cricket and subdued form as they take on Sikhs

Former skipper Rakep Patel reckons that the boys, especially the younger ones, need to learn how to stay on the wicket longer in order to unlock their full potential.

The second round of matches in the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) League begins this weekend, with teams that had missed matches against Obuya Cricket Academy who were readmitted into the League in the 4th week set to play them later in the season.

Kanbis Sports Club ‘A’ sit second on the log with seven wins from nine matches, albeit ensconced with Swamibapa Sports Club ‘A’ and Sir Ali Muslim Club ‘A’ who bear an inferior run rate from the same number of wins, Swamibapa with a match in hand.

Kanbis travel to Sikh Union Sports Club this weekend with the hope of bagging another run away win after beating their opponents at home by four wickets, only barely, chasing 135 runs. They will be missing the services of skipper and opening batter Dhiren Gondaria who picked an ankle injury during last weekend’s match. Sachin Bhudia will captain the side in his absence.

Kanbis will be without their skipper who’s resting an ankle injury

By and large, Sikh Union’s batting has been overly dependent on former Kenya U – 19 duet – skipper Sukhdeep Singh and all – rounder Muhammad Kalyan’s performance with the bat and to an extent with the ball.

This time, however, Kanbis come up against a bolder Sikh Union outfit, bolstered by three overseas players: Deepak Singh – opening bowler, Sudhir Kumar Yadav – opening batsman and Jassim Jitendra Matharoo – left arm spinner. While the other two are making their maiden appearances in the League, Deepak Singh has been with the side before and has already made the most out of the bat with 106 runs from two innings, while Matharoo has five wickets, including a four – fer against Nairobi Gymkhana in his debut two week ago. Yadav is yet to make an impact with only 7 runs and 1 wicket so far.

Sikh Union may have to continue relying on their skipper

I ask former National team and Kanbis skipper Rakep Patel on his take concerning having pros in the League vis a vis home-grown talent and he states, “They are really good for the improvement of our cricket. As for us at Kanbis, we are content with working with our local players as they improve. If we lose, it’s okay as we’re looking to the future and it’s all a learning curve now. Especially seeing as Rajesh (Bhudiya) and Mepani (Ramesh) won’t be playing much anymore so it is up to the youngsters to do it for us.”

Kanbis have switched up their squad a number of times already, resting their senior players to make way for some youngsters. Against Swamibapa last week, leg spinner and opening batter Mihir Jesani scored his maiden season half ton in his fourth Super League fixture while against Obuya Cricket Academy pacer Kaavya Pindoria and wicket keeper batter Jinay Hirani slotted in for Mepani and Hiren Kabaria who slid down to their B side. Mihir hade earlier featured against SCLPS ‘A’, Sikh Union and Ruaraka Sports Club ‘A’ and medium pace bowler Jinesh Jivani making an appearance against Nairobi Gymkhana.

Sudhir Kumar Yadav has not yet made an impact for Sikh Union. Photo credits

Speaking to after their loss to Swamibapa last weekend where Dhawanil Patel was the difference with a maiden season unbeaten ton, I ask him what makes the difference when they lose to a team because of their pros. “It is a learning curve for our youngsters. What needs to be done is for our kids to learn how to bat.”

On whether it has to do with pressure cooker situations or execution, he expounds, “They need to learn how to bat long. The 60s and 50s should be 100+. They have to learn how to convert those starts. Most of the time, they give away their wickets while trying to hit boundaries. In 8 matches, we only have one hundred (Dhiren Gondaria’s 109 against Ngara Sports Club ‘A’) and eleven fifties in comparison. Two seasons ago, someone was getting a hundred in every match. That is what our kids need to learn.”

Questioning his subdued form this season and whether he’s focusing too much time on the kids at his Club and forgetting about himself, he admits that it could be a factor amongst other things. “I guess that’s true but there is no excuse. Adjusting from training every day to only twice a week will take time to get used to but no excuses, I’m due to score. When you don’t train well, you even fail on your instinct shots. The big one is coming soon, though. I know,” says Patel to wrap up the interview.

Patel sits sixth on the batting log with 236 runs from nine innings and a high score of 75* against Sir Ali (his sole half century of the season) and the second best Super Legue fielding figures as Kanbis’ wicket keeper batsman – 10 catches, 2 stumpings and one run – out. With over 800 runs from his last NPCA season and 5 centuries, Patel would surely know when his time is nigh.

From their eight matches, Sikh Union have only registered one win against Nairobi Gymkhana two weeks ago and turning out for  this match without Muhammad Kalyan will need the best bat from their skipper and their overseas players. Their bowling doesn’t seem to give them a headache with the skipper, Himanshu Dixit and Gurleen Singh in bowling form.

Homanshu Dixit has been consistent with the ball for Sikh Union. Photo Credits

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