July 20, 2009

Kenya

Odumbe's return would be a massive backward step

Martin Williamson

Maurice Odumbe’s campaign to rekindle his cricket career when his five-year ban for associating with a known bookmaker ends next month continues with yet another interview in the Nation. Yet again the same old tired comments are trotted out, about how great Kenyan cricket was when he played, how it’s gone to the dogs since, and how he is the man to reignite it.

While he believes he still has a role to play, the fact is that he is 40 and hasn’t picked up a bat in anger in any serious event for almost six years. The chances of anyone of that age coming back successfully in any sport are remote – and before the example of Tom Watson at The Open are cited, he has been playing almost non-stop since his fifth Open title in 1983.

Kenya cricket has paid for keeping faith in the old guard and not moving on. There is a small window for the selectors to take the plunge and give youth a chance ahead of the 2011 World Cup. That could mean tough decisions being taken which might include bidding farewell to icons such as Steve Tikolo.

What is certain is that even contemplating the return of Odumbe would be about as backward a step as it would be possible to take.

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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 rohit bhudia on (August 18, 2009, 8:00 GMT)

odumbe's return is just a farce in kenyan cricket, he should stick to club cricket and should not dream his return to the national side. What cricket kenya should concentrate is on grooming the younger ones, as it is good talents are been wasted and as we know odumbe's selection will result in some young chaps career gone or delayed.

Posted by khalsa.lakhvir.singh on (August 17, 2009, 7:10 GMT)

well, i don't mind give himself a second chance, everyone deserves a second innings. give him the benefit of doubt. if no one before him has made it back after 40 with no competitive cricket for 5 years, he may just be the first one then. its his gamble - if he poops out, he may even jeopardise his credibility to become a coach or mentor. true, Kenya needs new players and we should stop banking on aging players, but i guess that's Kenya's gamble and foolishness which is going to prove fatal for Kenyan cricket. Odumbe may be arrogant and all, but he's only one of the kind teams like Australia, India and Pakistan have in abundant supply. i guess when we finally hit crisis point is when we may deem its time to bring in fresh blood ... a sad way of doing things in Kenya...it's almost inevitable, in the way we are going, that we may end up like the Zimbabwe team - full of teenie bops thrust to play with the big boys and returning back with embarrassment...let's see what Odumbe brings back.

Posted by jacob waugh on (August 16, 2009, 9:25 GMT)

He will always be a hero in my eyes too... if arrogance, corruption, deceit and self-serving egotistical behaviour are things to be celebrated. As a player I would absolulty love to play alongside someone known to put a quick buck ahead of the team ethic. As a young player, I would love to hear about the scams and that got him his ban. As a parent, I wouldn't want him anywhere near my children. He has damaged Kenyan cricket as Maradonna damaged the reputation of Argentinian footy with his 'hand of god' goal--not that I would EVER put this joker in Maradonna's class of athlete or sportsman. Go get a drink and preach how badly treated you have been and leave the playing and representing your contry to those proud of the shirt and not the personal oportunity to milk.

Posted by baaza on (August 10, 2009, 18:58 GMT)

Mo will always be a hero in my eyes.i had the previlage to see the lad grow into an outstanding sportsman.kenyan cricket has missed his services at a crucial time.since his ban the standards have dropped to an all time low.why crucify him still further, have we no compassion. if he feels he can make a comeback- why not.

Posted by bassanga on (August 5, 2009, 13:49 GMT)

What is Kaps talking about, we know Mo has Class but his body can not take the toll. Mo please start coaching the young ones so that we still have the future running.

Posted by Adnan Kapacee on (August 1, 2009, 11:52 GMT)

If Odhumbe is better than the present lot, then why not? He surely has class.

Posted by monty on (July 31, 2009, 0:57 GMT)

Maurice is the best cricketer kenya has ever had and i strongly belive that he should be given a chance, come to think of it he can only improve the game considring the current position of the team and the current performance.

Posted by jacob waugh on (July 29, 2009, 10:49 GMT)

Sport is a funny thing and the thought of Odumbe coming back is hilharious! A backward step indeed. Im not sure Amit Chauhan knows much about cricket but one game seven years ago is not worth much today. Odumbe has always put himself ahead of the team and ended up with a justified ban to prove it. He will be no different now. Sadly chai might get him back in the side. If so it is another very sad day for Kenyan cricket.

Posted by Bassanga on (July 28, 2009, 5:09 GMT)

Hi Mo, well the timing is not good enough for the national carrier but the board will surely be glad if you can give back to the young ones by joining up with the local coaches and built up the future and bring back the glory which you had, i am sure that satisfaction will make you dream come true and make you a very important person in the society.

i wish you the best in this endeavour.

Posted by neill patel on (July 27, 2009, 12:29 GMT)

well, i don't see any reason why kenya can't give him a chance, lets face it the icc are not going to be kind to kenya for under performing as they have been recently. I think cricket in kenya will improve but only after the selectors select on merit rather than other political reasons. Some players in the current squad are there to make up the numbers rather than being there on merit. Lets open the game in kenya up please !!!

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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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