Kenya September 17, 2007

Kenya's opportunists seize their moment

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

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.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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