Collins Obuya, born July 27, 1981, is an all-rounder who featured in 104 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and 26 Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) for Kenya. Obuya is widely remembered for his magnificent spell in a group stage game of the 2003 World Cup against Sri Lanka.
He started his career as a leg-spinner, but later found blossomed as a dependable top-order batsman, especially in T20 formats.
Collins Obuya has two siblings – David and Kennedy — who also played for Kenya. Kennedy, the eldest, debuted for Kenya in a One-Day International (ODI) game against India in 1996. Collins, the youngest, and David debuted in the same match against West Indies on August 15, 2001.
Collins Obuya was one of the key reasons behind Kenya’s successful campaign in the 2003 World Cup, where they made it to the semi-finals for the first time. In a group game against Sri Lanka, he took five for 24 to decimate the Sri Lankan batting line-up for 157 while defending a score of 210. This remains his career-best figures in ODIs. His magnificent run in the World Cup earned him a contract with Warwickshire to play county cricket in 2003. His stint was fleeting as he was beset with injuries. He scored 50 on his Championship debut and featured for six Twenty20 (T20) games.
He then had his hopes fixed on the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy, but it wasn’t to be. He was diagnosed with appendicitis due to which he wasn’t able to play.
In 2005, Obuya’s bowling saw a steep decline. He was sent to Australia to train with Terry Jenner who was the former Australian spinner and Shane Warne’s coach in November 2005. The move did not bring the desired results.
While featuring for one of the worst sides in the 2011 World Cup, Obuya starred with the bat for Kenya. In his six World Cup innings, Obuya collected 243 runs at a strike-rate of 70. His tenacious knock of 98 not out against Australia at Bangalore, which was also his highest score in ODI, helped Kenya to lose with some dignity while chasing 325 against a formidable side which had the likes of Brett Lee, Shaun Tait, Mitchell Johnson and Jason Krejza.
Kenya had a poor outing in the 2011 World Cup as they didn’t manage to taste success in any of their six group stage matches. Obuya was the inarguably the best Kenyan cricketer in the tournament as a result of which he was appointed as the captain after Jimmy Kamande was axed from captaincy.
In December 2013, Obuya gave up the captaincy after his team failed to qualify for the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 (T20). Kenya didn’t manage to win enough matches in the qualifiers which were held in United Arab Emirates (UAE) in November 2013.
In November 2013, during the last day of the seven-match series in Sri Lanka, Obuya was found guilty on disciplinary grounds by Cricket Kenya Disciplinary Board for allegedly slapping teammate Irfan Karim in the dressing room of Colombo Cricket Club after rain interrupted the day’s play. Obuya was slapped a two international match ban, while Karim was suspended for one game.
With 2044 runs from 104 ODI outings, Obuya is third in the list of highest ODI runs for Kenya. Obuya averages 25.55 at a healthy strike-rate of 68.56.
Obuya has been a prolific run-scorer for Kenya in Twenty20 (T20) format. He tops the list of highest run-getter in Twenty20 Internationals (T20I) with 507 runs from 26 T20 appearances. He averages 28.16 at a strike-rate of 109.50 with the highest score of unbeaten 75 which came against Netherlands in April 2013.