Steve Tikolo still remembers it well. After Kenyas defeat in the semi-final of the 2003 World Cup, Michael Holding told me that the ICC had earmarked Kenya to be the next Test-playing country, he said recently. It would have been a glorious reward for Kenyas golden generation, a side that announced themselves to the world when they bundled out West Indies for 93 in the 1996 World Cup, and beat India in two ODIs before the glories of 2003.It never happened. Instead, Kenya were doomed to be the Icarus of Associate cricket, flying closer than anyone else to the sun and then falling to oblivion.Just when they needed help most, they were shunned by the myopia of the Full Members: Kenya played only five ODIs against Test nations from the 2003 World Cup to the end of 2005. Yet theirs was a self-imposed demise too.Our cricket management let us down big time, Tikolo reflected, calling corruption an open secret. The malaise extended to the team: Maurice Odumbe was banned for five years after being found guilty of associating with a known bookmaker.With a tiny playing base, and a poorly run team, Kenya collapsed. They made little impact at the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, and by 2013 they were forced to summon Tikolo, their one-time batting titan, out of retirement at the age of 42. Damningly, he was still among Kenyas best players when they lost ODI status in early 2014. Failure to qualify for the current edition of the Intercontinental Cup, the ICCs first-class competition for the top eight Associates, soon followed. Years of High Performance Programme seemed to have left no legacy at all - either on the team or the infrastructure in Kenya.Now, though, there is a little hope. On Friday the Nairobi Gymkhana ground hosts Kenyas opening match against Hong Kong in the World Cricket League Championship. It will be Kenyas first home game in an ICC-run tournament for four years and, it is hoped, a seminal point in the nations cricketing recovery.There is palpable excitement with cricket returning, says Rakep Patel, the skipper. He sees the matches as an opportunity to change the narrative around Kenyan cricket. Its been all doom and gloom in recent times with stories that Kenya cricket is dead.Much has been said about how Pakistan have been impeded by not being able to play a home Test since 2009, but consider the magnitude of Kenyas challenge: trying to grow a niche sport in the country without being able to play at home. That is why Cricket Kenya has worked with the government and security forces to bring international cricket back to the country. Perhaps the governments commitment represents renewed interest in helping what was once the nations most successful sports team.The return home comes at a time when there are tentative signs of the team improving too. They are definitely a team and country on the up, says Andy Hobbs, the ICCs acting Head of Global Development.Kenya performed respectably in the World T20 qualifiers last year, winning three of their five completed games. In the World Cricket League Championship, they have won three of their six games, including beating Namibia away twice last year. No one would pretend these results are remotely spectacular, but at least there is the sense that Kenya have halted their descent. And these results have been achieved with a team far younger than the one that lost ODI status two years ago.Irfan Karim, the teams leading batsman, who had a successful stint for Leicestershire 2nd XI last year, says that the team must improve their mental strength and game awareness.There are glimpses that youth development has improved, as Cricket Kenya has piloted programmes to grow the sport beyond its heartlands in Mombasa and Nairobi. The board is working on improving the education of coaches. In December, a new Under-19 tournament will launch, putting the most talented youngsters into three teams. According to the ICC census, there are now 3495 junior players in the country, up from 1100 in 2009.But, as ever with ICC census figures, some are sceptical. Three thousand five hundred youngsters? Its a joke, says Aasif Karim. If we had 5% of those figures, I would be happy. Those figures are totally fabricated.His son Irfan is rather more diplomatic. Better facilities, academies and higher-qualified coaches need to be put in place for there to be progress, he says. Increasing participation levels is not as easy as it sounds. Poverty is a problem in Kenya and some families are more focused on where their next meal is coming from. Without the basic needs fulfilled, cricket or sport becomes a non-existent thought. This is where the government needs to intervene and provide support in whatever way possible.Cricket Kenya also urgently needs to improve the domestic structure. Kenyas golden team learned the game playing alongside the likes of Sanjay Manjrekar, Kiran More, Sandeep Patil and Mark Ramprakash for clubs in Nairobi. Now, club cricket standards are very low, laments Aasif Karim. There may be only five quality matches a year. At times, club teams even fail to raise 11 players.On the bright side, Cricket Kenya is now run far better than in the years after 2003. Ten years ago their focus was very much on the national team, whereas now theres a very strong focus on the whole cricket system - on education, domestic leagues, grassroots, development and womens cricket, Hobbs reflects. Theyve got some really good people in there, and theres not been the underlying challenges there have been in the past.Jackie Janmohamed, the chairperson of Cricket Kenya and an eminent lawyer, has helped to improve governance of the game, yet her work remains unfinished. The system is corrupt. It needs a complete jolt, says Aasif Karim. The foundations are non-existent. Its time Kenyan cricket must accept that we are really down. We keep on denying it. Karim rues how Tom Tikolo, who resigned as Cricket Kenya chief executive in 2009 after $10,000 in cash was left unaccounted for, has returned to the game, as Chairman of Nairobi Provincial Association.At least administrators are now organising far more matches outside the ICC structure, even if the opposition are a salutary reminder of how far Kenya have fallen. They won a quadrangular series in September, albeit against Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Uganda, and the A side is about to embark on a quadrangular series in Uganda.Kenya have also benefited from Cricket South Africa taking a more active role developing the game in the continent. The national side performed reasonably in both their appearances in the Africa T20 Cup, winning one of their three games in 2015 and 2016.At a time when Afghanistan and Ireland can glimpse a tantalising future, Kenyan ambitions are altogether more modest. Theyre a country of huge potential, as they showed in 2003, says Hobbs. If they continue to remain stable off the pitch I see no reason why they couldnt be regularly in the top echelons of Associate cricket, in the top four.After the halycon age of 1996 to 2003, becoming a leading Associate side in ODIs once again, and regularly qualifying for the World T20, hardly sounds like a lofty aspiration. But after all that Kenyan cricket has been through since, it would be a triumph. Perhaps Associate crickets Icarus might yet come back to life. Cheap James Washington Jersey . LOUIS -- Attorneys for the St. Cheap Chukwuma Okorafor Jersey . The Australian is competing in his final season in Formula One and still looking for his first win this year. He will look to end Vettels run of six straight race wins on Sunday. Webber, who is fifth in the championship, earned his second pole from the past three races and 13th of his career. http://www.cheapsteelersjerseyselite.com/ . This should be celebrated because it will not always be this way. With the amount of money given to players by their clubs these days, it is a wonder that so many of those teams allow the sport to continue to take away many of their assets so they can play for a different team in the middle of their season. Steelers Jerseys Throwback . Colin Wilson had two goals and an assist, and Mike Fisher scored a goal and helped set up two others in the Predators 6-4 victory over the Red Wings on Monday night. Cheap Terrell Edmunds Jersey . Aside from the trilogy main event title fight, there are a number of intriguing matchups in the heavyweight, welterweight and lightweight divisions. SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Jordin Canada scored a career-high 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting to lead No. 9 UCLA to a 71-52 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Wednesday night.Canada, a junior point guard, had five rebounds, four assists and three steal for the Bruins (8-1), who won their seventh straight.Canada scored 10 of UCLAs final 11 points over the last 3 minutes of the first half as the Bruins led 33-26 at halftime.Sarah Porter had 11 points for the Gauchos (2-7), who cut their deficit to six points with just over a minute to go in the third quarter.Canada scored 13 points in the third quarter as the Bruins took a 50-40 lead into the fourth quarter.UCLA wennt on a 14-0 run early in the final period to take its largest lead of the game, 60-40 with 6:39 mark to play.ddddddddddddMonique Billings added 17 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals for UCLA.Makala Roper had nine points and six rebounds for the Gauchos, who fought the Bruins to a 38-38 tie in rebounds.The Gauchos finished 8 of 20 from 3-point range while the Bruins were just 2 of 10. It was the fifth straight game UCSB has made at least seven 3-pointers, putting them at 44 of 121 (36.3 percent) over that stretch. Cheap NFL Jerseys China Discount NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys 2019 Cheap Jerseys 2020 Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China ' ' '