Odoyo happy for Kenya to stay under the radar

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Dubai, Jul 26 (UNI) Kenya all-rounder Thomas Odoyo prefers an underdog's tag as the African nation gives final touches to its preparations in England ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier to be held in Belfast, Ireland from August 2-5.

''It is good to be considered as favourites but I have always preferred an underdog's tag because I don't want to carry avoidable pressure on my shoulders.'' experienced all-rounder Odoyo said in a statement released by ICC today.

''We want to play as hard as we can without unnecessary pressures. But it is good to know that people consider us a team to be reckoned with and I hope we come out with flying colours,'' said Odoyo, who won the Associate ODI player of the Year at the ICC Awards in Johannesburg in 2007.

Kenya, seeded second in the competition behind the host nation, is being tipped as the team to come on top because of its vast international experience, including the exposure it got in the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa where it was placed along with New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Kenya has played the most matches amongst the participating teams-99 as compared to Ireland's 27, Scotland's 29, Bermuda's 30, Canada's 38 and the Netherlands's 35.

The teams featuring in the tournament, besides Kenya and host Ireland, are Bermuda, Canada, Netherlands and Scotland and at stake will be two or possibly three places in the ICC World Cup Twenty20 2009 to be held in in England.

Both finalists will qualify for the tournament which will take place at Lord's, The Oval and Trent Bridge next June.

The third place to be decided by a third and fourth-place play-off is dependent on Zimbabwe Cricket's Board ratifying a decision taken by its officials during ICC Annual Conference week, to step back from the tournament.

Kenya is grouped with The Netherlands and Canada and plays the Dutch in the opening match of the tournament.

The 36-year-old Steve Tikolo will lead Kenya which includes 11 players who participated in the ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007.

Team: Kenya - Steve Tikolo (captain), Thomas Odoyo, Kennedy Otieno, Collins Obuya, Peter Ongondo, Ondik Suji, Hiren Varaiya, Rakep Patel, Morris Ouma, James Kamande, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Elijah Otieno, Alex Obanda, Ragheb Aga, David Obuya UNI XC RKM HS2036

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