What you need to know:
- The 23-year-old is expecting to make his Twenty20 International (T20I) debut with the Kenya national men’s senior cricket team in the inaugural Continent Cup T20I Africa that bowls off today at Nairobi Gymkhana
- Muthui said that he was overjoyed after making it to the final national team squad for a T20I assignment after missing out twice as a reserve player
- With Kenya’s squad for the Continent Cup T20I Africa dominated by experienced players, Muthui conceded he is under pressure to prove himself
Looking back at his formative years in cricket, all-rounder Gerard Muthui is elated that he never bowed down to pressure from his parents to quit the sport after he sustained a mouth injury in training.
The 23-year-old is expecting to make his Twenty20 International (T20I) debut with the Kenya national men’s senior cricket team in the inaugural Continent Cup T20I Africa that bowls off Friday at Nairobi Gymkhana.
Kenya will face Rwanda at 9:30am. Botswana and Uganda are the other teams that will compete in the tournament that ends June 21.
Speaking to Nation Sport on Thursday, Muthui said that he was overjoyed after making it to the final national team squad for a T20I assignment after missing out twice as a reserve player. The Stray Lions Cricket Club man made his One Day International (ODI) debut with the national team during Kenya’s bilateral series with Nepal in August last year.
With Kenya’s squad for the Continent Cup T20I Africa dominated by experienced players, Muthui conceded he is under pressure to prove himself.
But with his goal being to become a common face in the national team for both T20I and ODI assignments, he vowed to give his best in the contest.
Among those he is keen to impress is his friend from Kawangware in Nairobi where he was born and raised.
“I feel excited (to finally be named in the final T20I national team squad) but there is pressure to perform and grab the chance,” said Muthui.
“I just want my debut to be good. I need to perform well so that when the team is being selected, my name appears first.”
When with the national team, he plays as a bowler while at Stray Lions, he is an all-rounder. Looking back at his cricket journey that started in 2011 when he was only 11 years old and a class four pupil at Muthangari Primary School in Lavington, Nairobi, Muthui said that it is due to his stubbornness that he now dons the prestigious, national team’s colours.
He says that all along, his parents were against him playing a ‘‘sport that they did not know” and when he one evening returned home with a mouth injury after being hit by a cricket ball, they became adamant in allowing him to go and play cricket.
Then, he was learning the sport at Obuya Cricket Academy after being introduced to the sport by former Kenya international Kennedy Obuya, thanks to a visit to Muthangari Primary School.
“It became like a fight because they always warned me against going to play cricket but I always found my way there. They saw the determination in me and gave up,” said the Diploma in Business and Management student at Kreston College in Nairobi.
Until now, the all-rounder said his parents and siblings have never bothered to know what sport cricket is and they find no amusement in his selection to the national team.
Apart from Obuya Cricket Academy, he also honed his cricket skills at Jamhuri High School in Nairobi. Muthui made his national team debut during International Cricket Council Under-19 World Cup Africa qualifiers held in July 2017 at Nairobi Gymkhana.
With 13 wickets in five matches, he was the main bowler for Kenya who won the 2017 ICC World Cup Africa Qualifiers after beating Uganda by seven wickets.
With that feat, Kenya qualified for the 2018 ICC U19 World Cup that was jointly hosted by New Zealand, India and Australia.
The Stray Lions man said the experience of boarding a plane for the first time in his life and playing in the World Cup is what has been behind his burning desire to be a regular in the national team.
Kenya finished 15th at the global championships.
Alex Obanda, skipper Rakep Patel, Shem Ngoche, Collins Obuya and Lucas Ndandason are some of the experienced players in the Kenyan squad for the Continent Cup T20I Africa. Muthui said that it is a great opportunity to play alongside them and that he is learning a lot.
“You learn a lot from them, how they play the game, tackle the pressure, where to bowl, what time to bowl, how to understand the batsman,” he said, singling out Obanda and former Kenya international Nehemiah Odhaimbo as the players he looks up to.
He said that he is attracted to Obanda's batting prowess while for Odhiambo, he admires his quick bowling style.
Cricket, he said, has gone a long way in improving his livelihood by paying his rent and part of his school fees.
His ultimate goal, he said, is to play for Sydney Cricket Club in Australia.
"His performance was excellent (against Nepal). Right now, he is at the top of the bowlers and I expect him to perform well because he has been training and bowling well. We are sure he will deliver," said national team coach David Obuya of Muthui.
Kenya v Rwanda 9:30am
Botswana v Uganda 1:30pm