the man, the majic…

A blog by Andruid

Steve Tikolo

After 13 years, 116 ODIs, 4 World Cup campaigns, 3000+ runs and just under 90 wickets, the man who has come to epitomize Kenyan cricket, Steve Ongonji Tikolo announced his retirement from international Cricket at the end of this season.

Having made his debut for  Kenya at their debut in the 1996 World Cup (top scoring with 29 in that epic win against the West Indies ) He went on to captain the side that shocked the world in 2003 rolling over Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe on their way to the semifinals.

Having gone out of my way to talk in a most objective way in my other posts on this blog and elsewhere i thought for this one I  would invest a little bit of personal recollection. after all it is a tribute post.

So here goes.

My first experience watching cricket was geting up in the morining to catch the post tea sessions of Australia and New Zealand as well as the tours that took place in Southa Africa. ( the only TV station one could catch any live cricket was/and still is ,South African Pay TV  channel, Supersport). Kenyan media coverage  of cricket amounted to the odd once in a blue moon piece hidden in the corner of one of the two dailies, and on the back of that it would have been highly unreasonable to expect anyone to develop any kind of clear picture of what the game was like.

 Legend has it it that the press even ignored that famous win in Pine in 1996 but I digress.  It was on one of those lazy afternoons whne I had happened to stumble on an ODI match on yet another  one of South Africa’s home series (India the tourists on this occasion) when it suddenly struck me that the team in green was not South Africa.  So I had a closer look at the names on the back of the players in green: Odoyo, Otieno, Angara, Shah…OMG, Its Kenya on the field!  So I had a look at the scorecard and it read just about 250.  Can they win it? India were just about to start and the commentators were all full gear about the greatness of  Tendulkar and his opening partner Ganguly, and how said greatness would prove too much for the Kenyans.  

 And so it was Tikolo, the man, captaining the team on the day passed the ball to Martin Suji and  Joe Angara to begin  what was to be a ‘futile’ task trying to win the game. Then it happened, a few overs of really tidy medium pace and suddenly Angara cleaned up Tendulkar and suddenly it was game on. India seemed to shake off the inital shock but just as they were looking to accelerate, Tikolo chaned the bowlers and struck gold. Thomas Odoyo, and Tony Suji each getting wickets.  Tikolo changed the bowling again and the wickets kept coming.

All of a sudden the game was there to be won and even as the excitement of the moment was starting to get to the players, the result was only headed one way. The commentators were stunned. Come the post match confrences and they were all over the Tikolo and it was here where what makes Tikolo unique. His humility, good grace, and ultimate cool in the face of the press.

That was Tikolo, great achiever, underpinned by even greater humbleness.

Andruid’s forum From beyond the Test World and his own website: SportinKenya


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