September 20, 2007

Kenya

Standard continues to rewrite the history book

Martin Williamson

The Standard’s overtly pro-KCA rhetoric continues unabated in a report on the farewell party thrown for outgoing coach Roger Harper.

Earlier this week we reported how a disturbingly one-sided column praising the old Kenyan Cricket Association came out just when the former KCA chairman Sharad Ghai appears to be on the comeback trail in Nairobi.

But the latest Standard take on history will raise wry smiles and/or anger among those connected to Kenyan cricket in recent years. Referring to the 2005 board elections, Mutwiri Mutuota says:

Former officials of Kenya Cricket Association were forced out office and replaced by CK in an acrimonious change of guard. Many top players either relocated to other countries or retired, leaving a very young team that needed direction. Still, players were not afforded as many top games as they would have wished. Indeed, this has been a sore point in the playing unit to-date.

A few home truths. The old KCA was booted out after intervention by the African Cricket Association which followed several years of bitter infighting. The board was at war with its own players and stakeholders and handed over debts of close to US$500,000. The national side had played two matches in as many years and, at the time of the elections, had been on strike for more than six months. What’s more, the government had intervened a few months earlier in an attempt to oust the old KCA board.

At the time of the change of board no major players “relocated and retired” even though the article tries to suggest they rebelled against the new regime. And as for players, they have had more matches in the last two years than they have ever had, and what’s more they are now on central contracts and being paid what they are worth.

A charitable explanation would be that Mutuota is ignorant of the facts, in which case he should not be writing about them. A more cynical view is that he knows exactly what he is doing.

Cricinfo makes no apology for repeating what happened to Kenyan cricket in recent years. The major national papers, who were so toothless and silent during the worst days of the old KCA, seem determined to rewrite history; when they do, we will keep reminding them of what really took place.

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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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Posted by kamal on (September 21, 2007, 17:50 GMT)

Good Job Cricinfo!! keep it up

Posted by Nathan Webb on (September 21, 2007, 10:47 GMT)

Well done Cricinfo. There are always going to be people that are more interested in their own ends than in cricket. You serve an invaluable role in keeping those people out of our game!

Posted by Zoeb Tayebjee on (September 21, 2007, 7:03 GMT)

I cannot remember of any player who either retired or relocated because of the change of guard from KCA to Cricket Kenya. The facts are: Aasif Karim, one of the finest Kenyan spinner, retired by his own will after the 2003 World Cup. He was 36 at the time of retirement. Another great player Mourice Odumbe was banned by the ICC for alleged contacts with the bookies.At that time he was 34. Prolific left handed batsman Hitesh Modi settled down in the U.K after getting married. His age was 33. Long serving opening batsman Kennedy Otieno (36) did not turn out for nets, and was rightly dropped. Another long serving opening bowler Martin Suji has had knee injury. He is 35 or 36 now. Great opening batsman Ravindu Shah (35) did not make himself available for the Twenty20, and did not offer himself for selection against India A and Sri Lanka A due to other commitments.

Therefore, who left the scene because of change of guard? NO ONE.

It should also be noted that the Cricket Acadamy has been closed as, it is understood, the KCA had differences with the Simba Union Club.

I am surprised that some people are still singing praises for the old KCA. It should also be noted that Kenya cricketers have played a lot of international cricket, including 26 ODI's, under the banner of Cricket Kenya.

Zoeb Tayebjee

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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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