Collins Obuya bows out after quarter-century career.


Obuya, who played 104 ODIs and 76 T20Is, was a key part of the Kenyan side that famously made it to the semi-finals at the 2003 World Cup.

Long-serving Kenyan all-rounder Collins Obuya today called time on a career spanning close to a quarter-century, announcing his international retirement following Kenya's final match at the African Games - a defeat to Uganda in the bronze medal match at Accra.

Obuya's final innings for Kenya proved Bradmanesque in the least looked-for way, bowled for a duck by Cosmas Kyewuta in the first over of the match, though three consecutive half-centuries earlier in the tournament put the lie to any suggestion that, at 42 years old, his abilities were significantly diminished. Indeed his retirement seemed to take his opponents by surprise, but when he raised his bat in farewell after his final innings the realisation swiftly dawned and he was mobbed by the Ugandan side, who together with the Kenyans formed a guard of honour to applaud him from the field.

Obuya first pulled on a Kenya shirt more than 25 years ago, representing his country at the 1998 Under-19 World Cup. His debut for the senior team came two years later in a First Class match against a touring Pakistan A side, joining a side in the ascendancy and seemingly on course for Full Membership and Test Status.

Playing alongside his elder brothers David and Kennedy as well as such legends of the Associate game as Steve Tikolo, Thomas Odoyo and Maurice Odumbe, Obuya was a key part of the Kenyan side that famously made a run to the semi-finals at the 2003 World Cup. Then still a specialist legspinner, Obuya's personal highlight came when claimed 5 for 24 against Sri Lanka at Nairobi (still his best figures in ODIs) including taking the wickets of Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Aravinda de Silva in succession.

His exploits earned him a place with Warwickshire the following summer, becoming the first Kenyan international to land a county contract. In England his bowling seemed to desert him, and Warwickshire released him after just one season, as a combination of injury and illness signalled the start of a difficult period in Obuya's career. Nonetheless he would force his way back into the national side as a batting all-rounder, a role he would play for Kenya for another two decades.

His proudest achievement with the willow would come at the 2011 World Cup, his unbeaten 98 against an Australia attack that included Mitchell Johnson, Shaun Tait and Brett Lee a rare highlight in what was otherwise a dismal tournament for Kenya. Indeed it was evident that the side were already in steep decline when Obuya took over the captaincy from Jimmy Kamande in the aftermath of that tournament, and the 2011 World Cup would prove Kenya's last appearance on the global stage to date.

Obuya led the side through the 2011-13 World Cricket League Championship, increasingly resuming responsibilities with the ball, but could not prevent the side slipping down the rankings as they were eclipsed by Ireland and a rising Afghanistan. Following a calamitous T20 Qualifier in 2012 that saw Kenya eliminated at the group stage, Obuya relinquished the short-format captaincy to Rakep Patel, and handed over the 50-over armband before the 2014 World Cup Qualifier.

That tournament would see Kenya finally stripped of the "permanent" ODI status that the ICC had granted them in 1997, bringing an end to Obuya's recognised ODI career, which had spanned 12 years, 104 matches, 2044 runs and 35 wickets. It would be another decade before Obuya finally hung up his boots however, having amassed well over 300 international caps for his country.

Following the match today, skipper Patel paid tribute to the last of Kenya's golden generation, "He has served Kenya well all these years, and we have been really happy to have him and play alongside him."

Obuya himself also reflected briefly on his career after the game, saying "I want to thank everyone, my teammates and my family who have been there for me in good times and hard times. It has been a lovely career for me, to have been able to play that long. I am very proud of my career, but it's time to concentrate on my coaching back home and do what good I can for cricket."