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Cricket Kenya has angrily denied claims in the Daily Nation that it broke its own selection rules in picking former captain Ragheb Aga for their European tour.
The newspaper, which has been overtly critical of the new board ever since the old Kenyan Cricket Association was replaced in 2005, accused CEO Tom Tikolo of double standards. “The basis on which Aga was picked is only known to the selectors,” Richard Mwangi wrote. “By picking Aga the selectors could have denied a deserving youngster who has been training with the rest of the boys an opportunity of being exposed to a high level, which does not augur well with the development programme.”
The claims by the paper were dismissed by Tikolo as “wholly inaccurate and misinformed”. He continued: “It reflects a misconceived notion that the Kenya national cricket team can only be picked from amongst those players who participate in its elite domestic leagues. This condition is meant for all players who ordinarily reside in the country during the season. There are several Kenyan players who play overseas and do not participate in local leagues and still feature in the national team - because they play in a country and for a team that participates in the top flight of cricket. The most recent examples of such players are the the Obuya brothers who played in Australia.”
Aga is contracted to Sussex, and while CK rules insist that overseas players participate in local leagues and to return home to prepare for a fortnight before any matches or tours.
However, given Aga has a professional and binding contract with the county. “His record and performance speaks for itself, particularly so in the English press where he is reported as being in impressive form for his county,” Tikolo explained. “He cannot participate in the Kenya domestic league because by doing so he would lose his county contract. After much persuasion, Sussex have agreed to release Ragheb so that he can play for Kenya in important matches without this prejudicing his contract.”
Samir Inamdar, the board’s chairmen, met with Sussex officials last week to obtain the necessary clearance, and Aga’s inclusion has to be seen as a plus at a time many players from Associate countries are opting to miss national games and remain with their counties.
The Nation also attacked the board for its handling of Tanmay Mishra, who, it claimed, “was dropped from the side for failing to attend nets earlier in the year, although his form was not in doubt”.
Mishra had in fact turned his back on Kenyan cricket to investigate furthering his education in India, and was unable to commit to his game when pressed to do so by the national selectors.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and AfricaFeeds: Martin Williamson
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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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.