LAHORE - Kenya team coach Steve Tikolo has said that if they could play a few more series with Pakistan team, they would be able to fight well with other cricket playing nations.

In an exclusive interview with The Nation, Tikolo said: “Though it was a a tough tour for us yet it was full of many sweet memories. Overall, my boys have learnt a lot from this tour. I believe, if we play two or three more series with Pakistan, we can compete well against them.”

Talking about Kenyan team’s next assignment after this series, the Kenyan coach said: “Now, we have to play a world qualifier league in Namibia and this series would prove very helpful for us to prepare well for the tournament. If we apply whatever we have learnt from here, I think Namibia event will be very good for us.”

To a query regarding reentry Ajmal into cricket arena after ICC ban, the Kenyan coach said: “Yes, Saeed Ajmal is a great bowler and well recognised internationally. He bowled well in new action too and I hope once again we will see him playing in the World Cup.”

When asked about the Pakistan A players who impressed him with their performances, Tikolo said though all the players played equally well yet there were a few ones who showed their potential and helped their team achieve impressive victories. “Pakistan players are very experienced and competent and they played good cricket than us. Those who inspired me with their performances are Babar Azam, Sharjeel, Sami Aslam, Mukhtar Ahmad, M Talha, Ziaul Haq and Shahzaib.”  About the strength of his team, he said: “There are a number of youngsters in the team and playing against Pakistan A, they have got very significant experience which will certainly help them in the matches to come.”

Appreciating the people’s passion for cricket, he said the crowd gave them very good support and it was good experience to see. “Pakistani nation is very passionate about cricket and their enthusiasm to witness their players at home grounds is really laudable. They cheered for their team as well as for us and that was the thing which boosted us up to play more aggressively.”

Expressing his passion for cricket, Tikolo said: “If one is a cricketer, one must just play cricket and we came here to play it and nothing else. “Since our landing to the airport to end of the tour, the security remained very brilliant. We have been looked after very well by government of Pakistan and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), so on behalf of Kenya Cricket and team, we are thankful to Pakistan and I hope the relationship between both cricket loving countries would go further strong.”

Sharing the experience of his stay in the city, the coach said he had already visited the country and during his stay here, he got the chance to play at Karachi and Lahore, which was a great experience for him. “Though, my entire team couldn’t get chance to explore the entire city yet we visited Aitcheson College, did shopping at a beautiful shopping mall, had dinner at the walled city. The reception at Governor House was also remarkable. We would love to see more of the city, if we get a chance to visit it again.” Summing up interview, he concluded with these words: “First of all, I would say hospitality of Pakistan people is really admirable, as they are very friendly and loving people. They looked after us like brothers. Secondly, Pakistan is very beautiful country and I would suggest to the world cricketers and tourists to come here and see how beautiful and lovely this place is.”