If respect was what the Kenyans wanted before the World Cup began they will go back home with so much of it that sponsor South African Airways will charge them excess baggage, as it has been doing to Asians ever since the hosts were kicked out.
But beyond respect, there is something more tangible that the Kenyans want, like, say, the World Cup. To those who think the Kenyan ambition is a bit valiant and cute, the team’s coach Sandeep Patil said in a press conference, "we are not here to watch cricket".
In a brief analysis of his side he said, "We have played good cricket so far. I am sure no body will take us lightly any more. I didn’t join the Kenyan team as coach because I wanted to visit the parks. I knew they had talent".
In the afterglow of what some people call a fairy tale journey, Patil took the occasion to settle an old score with former- cricketer-infamous-television-commentator, Navjot Singh Sidhu. "I hope Mr. Sidhu will think before he speaks again" he said reacting to Sidhu’s comments at the beginning of the World Cup that strong teams will lick Kenya like candy. Patil also pretended to search for something in his pocket saying, "where is my candy, I forgot my candy".
Turning a bit more serious, Patil believed that the success of his side, "will open doors for Kenyan cricket". He revealed that he felt that same way now after Kenya bagged the chance to play in the final four as he did when India won the 1983 World Cup.
"There is no point in Kenya beating A or B sides any more. Kenya should be allowed to play more matches at the highest level", Patil said. While that nation is the first non-test playing side to enter a World Cup semi final, Patil said that the ICC was looking at various aspects of Kenyan cricket before awarding the status. "Bob Woolmer is preparing a paper on cricket in Kenya". But the ICC may look very hard at the African country because Bangladesh was an embarrassing mistake.
While logical thinking doesn’t give Kenya a chance to beat India on Thursday in Durban’s Kingsmead, it’s highly probable that the match will be decided on Duckworth-Lewis’ ominous computations just like the South Africa – Sri Lanka match was at the same venue.
If 25 overs have been bowled during the second half of play before the match is called off, the reserve day will not count. It will come down to Duckworth-Lewis. It was taking into the account the conditions and possibility of rain that made Jagmohan Dalmia make a wise but feeble appeal to the ICC to change the day-night semi final to day. The request was turned down because the ICC pleaded that among other things, rules were rules.
Patil said understandably, "We have no objection to this being a day and night match."
As the Indians come down from the narrow stairs on Thursday, they will know that a billion people back home will never forgive them if they don’t win. The Kenyans, on the other hand, as their coach says smugly, "have nothing to lose".