November 1, 2007

Kenya

Ghai's shadow continues to hang over Kenyan cricket

Martin Williamson

The talk of Sharad Ghai’s comeback continues even though publicly he continues to deny such reports. But, as Cricinfo’s Beyond The Test World has reported in the past, he has friends in the media who continue to snipe at the current regime.

Sports Monthly has been a regular critic of the Cricket Kenya board and it has had another go with some thinly-veilled attacks on Samir Inamdar, the CK chairman. What’s more it has quotes from Ghai who denies he has any ambitions to return to the national scene.

“It’s not true,” he said on allegations he wanted to take over the CK. “as of now there is absolutely no truth in those claims, but in case of anything I will call you.”

What is clear is that Ghai and Sukhbans Singh have been canvassing opinion among the Nairobi clubs with, Cricinfo learns, lukewarm results. Singh, a former schoolmate of Ghai, was for a time his sworn enemy and even went as far as being a witness in Ghai’s trial in 2005, although he was unfortunately out of the country when the time came to appear in court.

Those who have had dealings with Ghai are of the opinion that he is unlikely to look to serve as a club representative – he is one of the Nairobi Gymkhana delegates appointed to the NPCA – without loftier ambitions.

Whether that is true or not, some in the media seem to paving the way for his return.

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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 Concerned Kenyan on (November 7, 2007, 9:47 GMT)

Sharad Ghai and Kenyan Politicians are the same: Selfish individuals who only care about themselves and no-one else!

The great achievements on the field during Ghai's reign was attributed to the players and coaches such as Sandip Patil. ICC donated huge sums to Kenya after the 2003 world cup, yet when the new Cricket Kenya committee came in, they inherited a $500,000 debt left by Ghai.

I think the current committee's achievements are commendable despite lack of funds. Players now have contracts, they have been performing well despite the absence of former top players e.g. Odumbe, Ravindu etc.

Cricket needs to be introduced at grassroot level nationally to be able to compete on the world stage long term.

Posted by AMAR JUDE P. MENDES on (November 4, 2007, 9:32 GMT)

Nazir Salroo has worked hard to carve a niche for himself in Kashmir’s fledgling bat manufacturing industry. However Salroo’s regret in life is no Indian player has played with branded Kashmiri willow bat in any international tournaments. But now something’s may change. Kenyan sports goods industry has shown interest in introducing Kashmiri bats in African markets. The bats were showcased at the Tech Mart fair in Delhi last year. The products were very much liked by Kenya’s sports goods dealers. They were so impressed that they asked to launch the bats in Kenya,” says Salroo, who is also the president of Cricket Bat Manufactures Association, Kashmir It is for the first time in 57 years that the Kashmiri willow bats have got international appreciation and recognition. Some sample bats have been sent to Kenya. After they pass the compatibility test, I am sure it will open the floodgates for bat manufacturers. Brand Kashmir will become a reality, Nearly 15 lakh bats are manufactured annually in J&K. With an annual turnover of Rs20 crore, the industry provides livelihood to over 5,000 people in J&K, the only state in the country where willow trees are grown. Despite bats being manufactured in the valley, no Indian or international cricketer is using Kashmiri willow bats which has demoralised the bat-makers. “Most players prefer branded English willow bats. It needs money to sponsor an international player who could use branded Kashmiri willow bat. The lack of resources for sponsorship is a hiccup, though we feel quality-wise our bats are compatible. Even J&K Cricket Association President Dr Farooq Abdullah says he would take up the issue with the BCCI in the next meeting. “Nobody has approached me on this issue. I will take up this issue in the BCCI meeting,” he adds. Sponsorship matter apart, experts say, Kashmiri willow has a higher moisture level which affects the rebound quality of the bat. So far the Kashmiri bat makers rely on solar heat to reduce this moisture. “We are commissioning a seasoning plant at Sether-Anantnag shortly. Built at the cost of Rs5.7 crore, the plant will help in reducing the moisture level and make them compatible to meet international standards,” says JL Gupta, Director, J&K Industries dept. However, there is demand for Kashmiri willow in other parts of the country. Cricket bat industry in Punjab and UP is thriving on Kashmiri willow. There is a blanket ban on illegal ferrying of willow clefts to other states. Only two-lakh willow trees are legally exported annually to sustain cricket ban industry in Jallandhar and Meerut. But there are lakhs of clefts being smuggled to other states to sustain the industry, thriving at the cost of Kashmir. “We have streamlined our monitoring mechanism at our check posts to crack hard on smugglers,” says AH Bhat, GM, District Industries Center.

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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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