March 13, 2009


Kenya's press up to their old tricks

Martin Williamson

Kenya’s press are up to their old tricks, and on the eve of Cricket Kenya’s elections the Standard has printed an error-strewn and arguably mischievous article which appears to be aimed at undermining board chairman Samir Inamdar.

If this was a one-off, then it might be forgiveable. But ever since Inamdar ousted Sharad Ghai as chairman in 2005, the and the Nation have not failed to snipe at the new regime and present a rosy, some would say slanted, view of the old days.

That it appeared on the same day the Nation ran an article typical of it claiming the players were boycotting training is not a coincidence. Board insiders suspect this is the start of a weekend of scurrilous comment to coincide with the elections. Watch this space.

Among the worst of a string of misleading comments in the Standard is one that states there has been a “massive pull-out of sponsors” of late. This is simply untrue. As things stand, CK has sponsorship from Tusker and Nimbus. Not one sponsor has been lost since 2005, although a board insider fumed that such articles only served to dissuade potential commercial partners.

The reality is that at the time of the 2005 elections Kenyan cricket had no sponsors. So bad were things that the only major sponsor had pulled out two months before the 2003 World Cup.

The paper also slams the CK constitution, one that it forgets was agreed by the ICC and the country’s stakeholders. It cites the case of former captain Asif Karim who, it claims, was dissuaded from standing against Inamdar. A board insider said the reality was that Karim was unable to stand as he could not even get enough support from within the NPCA to put him forward. Furthermore, he had declined previous invitations to get more involved in the administration despite his public claims he wanted to get more involved.

The Standard also implied that the lack of an opponent for Inamdar was a bad thing, harking back to a “fierce battle” between Ghai and Jimmy Rayani in 2003. Again, the reality is quite different. Between 1994 and 2005 there wasn't even an election, so dysfunctional was the administration. And Ghai became chairman when Rayani stepped down in 2004. It was an accession rather than a battle. That's the irritating thing about the internet ... you can check things so easily.

At some stage the patience of CK will snap and unleash its lawyers. That day might not be as far away as some of those involved think.


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

RSS Feeds: Martin Williamson

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by colin macbeth on (March 15, 2009, 20:18 GMT)

Do I feel guilty that I trained up some of the guys who report cricket in Kenya? Indeed I do! However I'm sure I didn't teach them to nurse grievances, as they appear to do now. Cricket has become more difficult to report since it entered the political or quasi-political arena. But that's no reason for facts not to be checked and for unsubstantiated material to be filed. Shame on them! Colin Macbeth

Posted by Lisa on (March 14, 2009, 20:16 GMT)

As predicted, today’s Nation carries a lament about how Kenyan cricket was so much better in days gone by. Charles Nyende actually ends his ramble with a comment that he misses the good old days. Aside from the usual inaccuracies (Charles, Kenya have not lost their ODI status) he seems to believe that in the good old days Kenya “could get fixtures against Test nations and given them a good run for their money”.

In the two and a half years between the ICC Champions Trophy in 2000 and the World Cup in 2003, Kenya played 18 matches against Test-playing counties – and won one. In the three years after the World Cup, after a tournament in Sharjah which followed straight on, Kenya was not able to get one match (aside from the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy which they were automatically invited to). The reason? The utterly shambolic state of the game nationally under the dysfunctional KCA.

It is tedious to keep having to make the same points again and again but the country’s newspapers seem determined to repeat the same untruths again and again.

Posted by Paul Ikaa on (March 14, 2009, 10:45 GMT)

What do these journalists stand to gain from misreporting?Unfortunately, most of the readers are likely to be ignorant of the facts. This means what the journalists say stands a good chance of remaining the truth in the eyes of the majority !Cricket in this country needs journalists with good intentions.

Posted by John Theone on (March 13, 2009, 19:40 GMT)

It seems that those journalists tend to go by assumptions rather than facts. I would call it a deliberate attempt of sabotage but rather one done out of ignorance of the facts and laziness not to confirm things. Of course you could be right that it could be a deliberate act of sabotage but it might be more pride than anything that prevents these journalists from even reading your article and acknowledging that they could be completely wrong let alone a little bit wrong

Comments have now been closed for this article


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.

All articles by this writer