Monday, March 21, 2011

STEVE TIKOLO

What is common between Marcus Trescothick, Subramanium Badrinath, Brad Hodge and Steve Tikolo? These are men who played less Test cricket in consideration of the respective talents that they had. One quit early, one suffered due to lack of chances, one just could not reproduce his domestic level of performances at the highest level, and one... that last one played for an Associate team!

Here's a look at the numbers generated by Steve Tikolo -











An ODI batting average of 29 does not do justice to him. A First Class batting average of almost 50 is a better indicator. The fact that he is the highest run-scorer in ODI cricket amongst players from Associate teams tells one story, the fact that the person second to him is a good 1003 runs behind him (just about 70% of his total) tells another story!

He's amongst the very few cricketers in the world who have played in 5 World Cups - a feat unachieved by 4 of the top-10 run-scorers in the history of ODI cricket and 7 of the top-10 wicket-takers. At one point in time, he was widely regarded as the best batsman outside of the Test-playing nations. Not without reason!

He
 was the captain when Kenya achieved their cricketing peak in 2003, when they reached the semi-finals of the World Cup 2003. He was present even in this World Cup in 2011, when Kenyan cricket is at its "lowest ebb".

He's been there and done that in respect of Kenyan cricket. He made his ODI debut together with Kenya's debut in a World Cup - back in 1996. He was a part of Kenya's first biggest triumph - the win over West Indies at Pune in that World Cup. He helped Kenya qualify for the next World Cup in 1999, and was their best player there. He led Kenya to a World Cup semi-finals in 2003. When the Kenyan cricket administration fell out with its stakeholders, he led a players' revolt to oust that old regime and took up the effort of rebuilding Kenyan cricket. It was fitting that the name synonymous with Kenyan cricket led them in his final appearance for them at an iconic ground, the Eden Gardens!

The farewell for Steve Tikolo did not go according to the script. But it was heartening to see his opponents (the Zimbabweans) giving him their respectful compliments when he made his final walk back to the pavilion as a Kenyan cricketer! Some players see their greatness celebrated, some others see their greatness hide in pages of history. Steve Tikolo was one of the latter breed of great cricketers, and this is just one of those pages of history!

To end this tribute to Steve Tikolo on a light note, here's what Andy Zaltzman tweeted in reply to me in respect of this Kenyan legend:

All the best for your future ventures, Steve Tikolo!

5 comments:

Govind Raj said...

Shridhar, you beat me to the post. I too wanted to do a post on Tikolo. He looked like Budhdha to me. Very sage-like. He would have been bigger and better playing for a Test nation.

Shridhar Jaju said...

Govind, there is no reason why Steve Tikolo does not deserve a second write-up. But sage-like?

In fact, to me, his face looked quite artificial. As if it was a wax structure that had been carved out using a chisel!

Ravi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ravi said...

Good post!

There is a small error. Kenya reached the semi-finals of the 2003 WC. Not the finals. Steve Tikolo played a major part in their efforts.

A point of note is that Sandip Patil was their coach during that period. It appears he inculcated a sense of confidence in the Kenyan team, which they seemed to sadly lack during this 2011 WC.

Shridhar Jaju said...

Firstly Ravi, welcome to the blog and thank you for pointing out that error - I have it corrected.

You are right about Sandeep Patil's contribution to Kenyan cricket. But I think the reason for that confidence was the fact that a lot of their players were ones who had been around for quite some time... some even from their 1996 debut. In 2011, it was almost a new team, still trying to march out of the lows created by their administration post 2003.

SAVE OUR TIGER!