June 5, 2009


Odumbe takes swipe at Kenya's management

Martin Williamson

The increasingly-bitter Maurice Odumbe, who is in the final year of his ban for associating with a bookmaker, has launched a rather predictable swipe at the Kenyan board, blaming it for the country’s absence from the ICC World Twenty20. Kenya failed to make it after a poor qualifying tournament in Ireland last year.

“It’s because of the way cricket is being managed there,” the disgraced former captain said . “After our dream run in 2003, we should’ve become an even better outfit. Clearly something went wrong along the way. These days we’ve all sorts of people running the show, except for those who know the sport. Imagine our manager during the 2007 World Cup was a former hockey player. What could he possibly tell a Ravindu Shah about the sweep shot?

“Earlier we had tours to India, Test teams came and played in Kenya. We also hosted high-profile tournaments like ICC Championship. We used to have a system of proper coaching at U-19, U-13 levels but it seems after 2004, ever since Cricket Kenya took over, we have been struggling.

“It’s not that we don’t have players, we have players they may not be as good as seniors but with a few training and coaching they could have done better and I blame ICC for all this and also the current officials in our board. I don’t think they are doing justice to the game."

While some will still listen to what he has to say because of his undoubted abilities as a player, Odumbe is a marginalised figure in the game and one, sadly, with little to offer it.


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 stohelit on (June 16, 2009, 0:54 GMT)

People need to get rid of this idea that just because a disgraced player says something, it is automatically wrong. Odumbe has a point. Kenya was a world cup semifinalist in 2003, and its fall from competence has been painful to watch. It is in the Indian-run ICC's interest to encourage more countries to play cricket well. More Test-quality countries means more matches, and more matches means more money. The ICC shows incredible lack of foresight in not encouraging talent where it's found. It has already fiddled while Zimbabwe and Kenya burned, and I don't look forward to seeing what it does to the likes of Ireland and Afghanistan.

Posted by Raju on (June 12, 2009, 6:11 GMT)

People need to separate Odumbe the (great) player with Odumbe the (highly flawed) person. Off the field, Odumbe has little on his side, and his comments are borne out of bitterness and a slavish loyalty to the old regime. While some of his points might have an element of truth to them he is hardly one to hark back to the good old days. What good old days are they? The ones of bookmakers and of Sharad Ghai and his cronies? No thanks, better to fail honestly than to succeed by their means.

Posted by colin macbeth on (June 12, 2009, 4:58 GMT)

Listen to what Zoeb Tayebjee (above) has to say. If he supports MO he's got a point. As someone who was quite involved until eight years ago in cricket reporting and development in Kenya I have been dismayed by the recent poor - and complacent-seeming - performances put up by Kenya teams. Just look next door and see Uganda, well coached and well organised, zooming up on the rails. In England, the women's Twenty20 world cup is going on parallel with the men's. Next time the Ugandans should be there, but what about the Kenyans? Thanks, Zoeb (old friend)for your perceptive remarks. And I agree, Maurice Odumbe, for sheer class, was the best. 'Topspinner'

Posted by Mali on (June 10, 2009, 11:01 GMT)

Think where Odumbe is coming from. He never spoke at his own hearing, and since then someone has been paying for him to continue living the high life. Now he attacks the board at the same time as some former leading administrators do the same. It's doesn't take much to work out what's happening here.

We know Odumbe will do anything for money, he's proved that. The only question remaining is whose money is he taking this time?

Posted by Zoeb Tayebjee on (June 10, 2009, 10:54 GMT)

Whether it's MO speaking himself or on behalf of somebody, there's a lot of truth in his sentiments. Kenya did not qualify for WC Twenty-20, they did not qualify for under 19 WC, neither did they qualify to play final of the under 13. For the World Cup they qualified by the skin of their teeth. That sums up Kenya's woes. All that is happening now, and CK is boasting about it, is upgrading grounds for the under 19 WC. All I can say we are adding to the list of While Elephants. Odumbe may be seen as a bad boy now, but this outspoken man was the best Kenya had. Soon the second best Steve Tikolo will have to go, seasoned Kennedy Otieno will also go and third best Thomas Odoyo is injury prone. Who will replace them? Do we have any systems? No, we don't.

Posted by Paul Ikaa on (June 9, 2009, 9:08 GMT)

What Maurice is saying is true.There is a downward spiral.Look at the recently concluded age group tournaments we have participated in.We couldnt make it to the finals of the U13 at Greensteds school.Who played the finals?Uganda and Tanzania!What is the excuse?Exams?like was the case in Zambia? My bet is that coaching is our undoing.Secondly,from the results in the recent past,there is no serious cricket being played in this country.Period.

Posted by Bassanga on (June 8, 2009, 9:17 GMT)

Well the former captain is speaking for on behalf of somebody who seems to be a bit scared to open up with the current board.

Mo, you may be right but Kenya need players and brain like yours to come forward and say that i am willing to be part of CK, instead of wasting your talent somewhere else.

Yes Kenya needs to improve, but were are the former players from the 80's and 90's??? Lets me see you challenge yourself by coming forward and bring back the glory.

Posted by Ketan on (June 6, 2009, 22:57 GMT)

Having played cricket in Kenya, albeit under the KCA regime, i do agree to an extent that Cricket has not thrived in the last little while, however, it still is a game played on the field & the performaces in recent times have been mixed to say the least. Go on boys, get on with the game & show the cricketing world that "Kenya Yetu Hakuna Matata"

Posted by andruid on (June 6, 2009, 15:04 GMT)

Sour grapes it seems. Odumbe fails to note that Test teams no longer have time for associates period, what with TV money playing such a big role in the ICC ODI schedules

Posted by Aliester on (June 5, 2009, 14:34 GMT)

I think Steve Tikolo is best option for Captain.

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.

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