Home > Features > Moments in history >

Josephat Ababu: Kenyan medium pacer who achieved modest success in ODIs

Josephat Ababu © Getty Images
Josephat Ababu took three wickets in nine ODIs at 85.00 for Kenya © Getty Images

Josephat Ababu, the Kenyan medium pacer, gave a glimpse of his talent in the Under-19 World Cup held in South Africa in 1997-98 with his smooth run-up and fluid action. However, he struggled to make his mark for the Kenyan national team. Bharath Ramaraj looks back at the career of a pacer who was expected to take over the mantle of spearheading the attack from Martin Suji and Thomas Odoyo.

Over the years, Kenya has been known for its athletes touching the outer-limits of long distance running with soul-lifting performances. The likes of Daniel Koeman, Paul Terget, David Rudisha and many more have been feted for being symbols of excellence in long distance running. However, in the last two decades, Kenya has also made its mark in the world of cricket. Yes, they have lost their way a bit in recent times, but it is hard to forget them reaching the semi-final of the 2003 ICC World Cup held in the Rainbow nation, or their victory over the West Indies in the 1996 Wills World Cup.

The success of the Kenya national team during the 1990s and early 2000s also inspired cricketers in the country to take up the sport. One such cricketer who came through the ranks and played for Kenya was Josephat Ababu, the medium pacer.

Ababu made a name for himself by snaring the wicket of Zimbabwe’s premier all-rounder, Neil Johnson, with the very first ball of his One-Day International (ODI) career in the LG quadrangular series that also involved India and South Africa in 1999-00. With so many ODIs being played, it can get hard for fans to remember every game. But Ababu would have been proud of that achievement. By that time, he had already played for the Kenya Under-19 team in the Under-19 World Cup held in South Africa in 1997-98, and had impressed cricket pundits with his smooth run-up and fluid action.

In 2000, this writer also remembers Ababu playing for Kenya Cricket Association XI against a touring Karnataka First-Class side. Ababu even shone brightly in a three day game at Nairobi by taking three wickets. He took the wicket of the centurion in that match, Balachandra Akhil.

Unfortunately for him, he lost the plot and soon found himself in the wilderness. He was dropped from the Kenyan setup in 2001. However, he found his rhythm back in a series against Pakistan A in 2004 and was duly recalled to the national team by 2006. After finding little success while playing against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in 2005-06, he was dropped again and hasn’t played since for the national team.

Ababu still plays his cricket with dedication and devotion. Last year, he played in the East Africa cup for Nyatis team. But here was one cricketer who was expected to take over from the likes of Edward Odumbe, Thomas Odoyo, Martin Suji, Rajab Ali, Joseph Angara and company, as Kenya’s main stroke force. But sadly, with a mere three wickets to his name in nine ODIs for his country, he has failed to deliver the goods. It also has to be said that Kenyan cricket has been ravaged by corruption and petty politics in recent times and that has not helped young cricketers to pen their mark.

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

West Indies tour of India 2014, Practice match

Oct 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Mumbai

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Brisbane

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Barbados won by 6 wkts (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Perth Scorchers won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 29, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 36 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

Photos

Barbados Tridents vs Hobart Hurricanes, CLT20 2014

Videos

Arjuna Ranatunga shares his views on U-19 cricket

CLT20 2014: Lahore Lions vs Perth Scorchers, Match 19, Highlights

Pakistan players would be allowed in IPL soon, hopes Shahryar Khan

Nawaz Sharif’s only First-Class appearance

Ernie Jones — the man who sent a ball through the beard of WG Grace

Top score by a batsman whose teammates scored less than 10 each in a T20

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Cape Cobras Champions League T20 2014 Chennai Super Kings CLT20 CLT20 2014 Dolphins India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab Lahore Lions Perth Scorchers

New playing conditions to be seen in Pakistan- Australia series

Sunil Narine will get over this tough phase positively, says West Indies coach Stuart Williams

West Indies have the ability to beat India: Richie Richardson

CLT20 2014 Semi-final 1: Hurricanes confident before KKR match,says Doug Bollinger

CLT20 2014: Inexperience against spin reason for Perth Scorchers’ exit, says Justin Langer

Jasprit Bumrah: Sachin Tendulkar giving me my debut cap was my most memorable moment with Mumbai Indians

CLT20 2014: Lahore Lions vs Perth Scorchers, Match 19, Highlights

Nawaz Sharif’s only First-Class appearance

Ernie Jones — the man who sent a ball through the beard of WG Grace

Top score by a batsman whose teammates scored less than 10 each in a T20

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

671 Posts | 6 Fans

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab- Final Match Highlights from IPL 2014

What this bitch is up to?

Director Siddharth Anand dares Bang Bang stars Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif!

Meru Cabs gets Uber’s best feature

Have acne? Drink wine to get rid of it

Alcatel OneTouch Fire C2G Firefox smartphone launched in India, priced at Rs 1,990

Diagnose with Alzheimer’s? What to do when the worst has happened

Aamir Khan completes Hrithik Roshan’s dare – is it lame or smart?

Asian Games 2014 Medal Table: China lead the Medal Tally with 130 gold, India 10th with 7 gold medals

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here