Nairobi Gymkhana ‘A’ have had enough of languishing at the bottom of the table throughout the first round of the 2021 Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) 50 – over League and have acquired the services of two professional players.
Arun Yadav, who plies his trade in the Mumbai Premier League will turn up against Ngara Sports Club ‘A’ this weekend with the hope of beefing up their top order which has repeatedly bowed under pressure, as Gymkhana hope to overturn the result they picked at home in their opening match. The visitors have already had 6 different opening combinations that have yielded a high score of 55 (against SCLPS ‘A’ last weekend) between skipper Kavi Dosaja and Shay Shah.
Skipper Dosaja is upbeat about the team being more balanced this weekend and believes they have given enough opportunities to everyone. “We have been trying out our youngsters, hence the different batting combinations. It’s just unfortunate that we haven’t been able to get that one big score from one of our top batters but we believe it will happen soon. We are confident after last week’s win and we want to capitalize on that momentum.”
This weekend, last week’s double centurion Abdulqadir Najmi makes his way back for only his second match with the A side this season, since playing the second match against Sir Ali Muslim Club ‘A’, his return necessitating another chop and change at the top. Alykhan Lalani slides down to Gymkhana B, in exchange as they await the arrival of their second overseas player at a later date due to travel logistics.
Bowling – wise, they would have little to complain about with Martin Ndandason having found his target in the last couple of matches as well as showing up with the bat. Amish Amin and Aarnav Patel have also shown that they can win them matches with the ball, having picked 24 wickets between them, including a five wicket haul for the right arm off spinner against Sikh Union.
Gymkhana have picked only two wins from their eight round one matches; stopping Ruaraka Sports Club ‘A’ short of a fourth match winning streak when they bowled them out for 124 runs to win by 5 wickets and against Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj (SCLPS) ‘A’ last week by 21 runs. They begun the League on a sour note, losing their fixtures and being penalized two points from their second match for failing to update their electronic scorecard.
With Lucas Ndandason and Dominic Wesonga still away on national duty in Kampala, Uganda for another nine days, Gymkhana look set to put their best footforward with a much stronger outfit on paper.
Ngara showed some top order flex with the bat last weekend when youngsters Manthan Joshi and Dhey Patel recorded half centuries to solidify the top order and help them to a comfortable 6 – wicket win over Obuya Cricket Academy. The return of skipper Mehul Patel this weekend after being out of action for the last three weeks surely adds a feather to their cap to boost both the batting and bowling.
Stand in skipper and vice-captain Harsh Patel is glad that the youngsters grabbed the opportunity given to them. “At the start of the season, we had decided to give our youngsters the opportunity to lead our batting front while the seniors like Mehul (Patel), Karan (Patel) and myself would take the responsibility of the middle order. Yes, Joshi and Patel looked good last weekend and we’re hoping that they take the positives of their last game into this weekend and better their performance.”
He speaks of filling the void left by Vraj Patel who is away in Uganda on national duty. “Vraj is an integral part of our bowling unit but in his absence, we have capable spinners with the likes of right arm off spinner Bharat Panchasara, left arm off spinner Dhey Patel and my right arm of spin as well to fill his void.” Vraj Patel is still second on the Super League bowling logs with 18 wickets even after missing last weekend’s fixture. With the rest of the youngsters – Jigar Patel, Akash Shah and Tanzeel Sheikh also showing flashes of brilliance, Ngara look set to stretch their 6th place further up the table.
Harsh reiterates Ngara’s goal to operate as a unit and back each other in all aspects of the game and looks forward to their top order clicking and setting them up once again.