September 17, 2007

Kenya

Kenya's opportunists seize their moment

Martin Williamson

A stinging attack on Cricket Kenya appears in today’s Standard which is completely understandable given the dismal performance of the national team in the ICC World Twenty20. However, the rhetoric of piece is depressingly reminiscent of that trotted out by supporters of the old KCA who attempt to rewrite history to show how much better things were in the old days.

Kenya have apparently failed to turn the gains of a sensational performance in the 2003 World Cup when they became the first non-test side to reach a World Cup semi-finals. Officials adopted a business-as-usual attitude when they were supposed to turn around the sport from the crutches of a supposed one-man dictatorship as they used to pontificate during their years in the ‘opposition’.

All cricket fans have been hearing are whining and procrastination. Where is the much-touted youth programme? Even the Central Province branch, which was apparently used to propel the incumbents to high office, is becoming moribund.

Sure, there are some serious issues that have to be addressed. The editorial seems to blame the current leadership for failing to build on the success in 2003 and also for the failures of the team in the latest tournament. How quickly people forget that two years ago the players were on indefinite strike, sponsors had deserted the team in droves and nobody wanted anything to do with Kenyan cricket.

Yes, the CK board has some difficult questions to answer, and they are aware of that. So do the players, but nowhere is their role in this mentioned. They are now on central contracts and are relatively well paid - unlike pre 2005 when they often weren't paid at all.

But given that appalling mess that was handed over by the old KCA and massive debts and complete lack of public and commercial goodwill, things cannot turn round overnight. In February the side won the ICC World Cricket League. The real question is why have they gone backwards in the last six months?

Perhaps the motive behind the Standrad's editorial is partially explained by the last paragraph.

If Cricket Kenya is unable to raise the profile of the game, by arranging high-profile matches and initiating development programmes, they should let other people take charge.

Other people? Like who?

Sharad Ghai, the former chairman of the KCA, is on the comeback trail in Nairobi. Pure coincidence, obviously.

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Posted by Amar Jude P. Mendes on (September 20, 2007, 1:12 GMT)

Sad to look at the state cricket is in Kenya .It all started with the Logan cup losses. We looked like fish out of water in Mombasa against India [A]. As if that was not enough Uganda got the better of us. Now the poor results in world cup 20-20. We need to hav a National league (4 day) cricket .Venues should be developed in Thika town, Nakuru and kisumu apart from Nairobi and Mombasa.So that we have the habit of playing in different conditions and grounds . Hopefully this should be done by end of this year.

Posted by Zoeb Tayebjee on (September 19, 2007, 5:48 GMT)

Kenya has been on losing course recently, and losing badly. Kenya have lost some good players like Maurice Odumbe (banned), Hitesh Modi (made to retire), Martin Suji (never made a comeback after injury)and Kennedy Otieno (shown the door). Ravindu Shah, a very good player, makes himself available at his pleasure. It now seems certain that the selectors will ignore him. That is half the team of good players gone. And there are 3-4 players in the present team who should never be there. That they are there is because there is no one behind. Kenya has a poor pool of 16 from which to choose a squad. That's bare fact. Everything boils down to very low standards of the domestic league. Whoever is responsible for running this league should be taken to task. Domestic league should be a focus, whoever is going to run cricket. Bringing high profile game will not help. What we need is more matches against A teams and under 19 teams of Test Playing Nations. We also need a thinking Captain. Spinners are dominating Twenty20 in South Africa. Kenya took a specialist spinner but, during both matches, was sitting on the bench.

Zoeb Tayebjee

Posted by mr a g abbass on (September 18, 2007, 17:52 GMT)

let us stop looking for who to blame and start to rebuild the sport from scratch get a primary and secondary schools programme have a provincial league for both the longer and shorter version have a young and experienced technical bench and complete change in the selection team.one wonders why more of the under 19 years team palyers were not chosen rather than choosing the same old palyers who have just not performed time and again also it is time steve tikolo should look into giving up the capatainship to a younger player like mishra and guide him for the time he will be there any sport without sponsors is like an orphan and sponsors have to be found urgently.the goverment should be involved and the first step would be to build a national stadium.all is not lost and god bless kenyan cricket

Posted by Ross on (September 18, 2007, 10:06 GMT)

But on a serious note, what happened to KCA was a disgrace. Living in Australia, seeing the Kenyan team playing in the "super 6's" in the '03 world cup was excellent. Many people finally had hope that cricket would leave the narrow section of just 8 serious playing nations. It was hoped that Kenya would join the ranks of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe as developing teams.

It is good to see the development of Bangladesh as a serious nation. Currently, they are probably not up to scratch with the other 8 nations(even though they knocked off the Windies in the 20/20 WC), they look like they are really starting to go forward. In a couple of years, if there development continues, they will be a true full member nation. The same cannot be said for Zimbabwe. Remembering back to the mid 1990's, and even to some extent, the early 00's, cricket in Zimbabwe was excellent. The team was full of genuine international cricketers, and with a developing Bangladesh, it looked as though in about 2010 there would be 10 genuine quality full member nations. This, compiled with Kenya, would have given the ICC something to really progress on.

Disappointingly, it all fell apart after the WC in 2003. Bangladesh struggled through out the tournament any way, and didn't really improve much until 2006. Out of the other developing nations, they are currently by so far the best and most promising nation, Bangladesh in 3-10 years will be a true international player.

Zimbabwe Cricket totally collapsed. In 2003, Andy Flower and Henry Olonga brought the political situation of Zimbabwe to the cricketing stage, and ZC collapsed from there. Mugabe took control of the sport, as well as the rest of the country, and ruined it. He thrust Peter Chingoka and Ozias Bvute into complete control of ZC, fired Heath Streak, didn't pay the players, bullied players, corrupted the sport, and concluded by firing all Asian and white Zimbabweans from administrative positions in ZC. This as well as other things, has destroyed the game, and obviously, until Zimbabwe has a political change, or at least an independent and democratically elected board, the game will be a joke, and keep disintegrating in Zimbabwe.

Nothing of the same that occurred in Zimbabwe occurred in Kenya, but it was and probably 95% KCA fault, but the ICC should receive some of the blame. Instead of ignoring Kenya and not giving the national team international experience, it hampered the efforts for improvement. I believe this lead to the retreat of sponsors, more than anything, to the collapse of Kenyan cricket.

Don't get me wrong, but the KCA stuff ups were the reason for the collapse, but i don't think it was the cause.

Anyway, more to the point, CK, if it receives more international games, keeps itself out of debt, and helps to develop grass roots cricket, will improve over the coming years...

Posted by minaz malik on (September 17, 2007, 23:38 GMT)

Kenya needs to replace the complete management team and hire a professional team manager who has played cricket in the past and a team coach who has coached in the past with a minimum of 10 years experience. Don't mix politics and sports.

Posted by minaz malik on (September 17, 2007, 23:38 GMT)

kenya needs to replace the complete management team and hire a professional team manager who has played cricket in the past and a team coach who has coached in the past with a minimum of 10 years exprience. dont mix politics and sports.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martin Williamson
Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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