September 17, 2010

Kenya

Time for Kenya to end the Odumbe circus

Martin Williamson
World Cup, 2003 - Bangladesh v Kenya at Johannesburg, 1st Match 2003
When he was great ... Maurice Odumbe at the 2003 World Cup  © Reuters
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Maurice Odumbe just won’t go away. Despite not having played any cricket of note since he returned from his five-year ban for associating with bookmakers, Odumbe, 41, still uses a friendly local media to argue he should be restored to the national side.

Odumbe’s last international match was seven-and-a-half years ago, around the time investigations by the ICC started. Between 2004 and 2009 he did not play at all.

Now he has ambitions to make it back to the Kenya squad for the World Cup. “I am quickly getting back to form and believe I can perform better,” he said this week. “I still have what it takes to make the Kenyan team.”

Even if he was able to show he still had what it takes, the Kenyan selectors would have to take leave of their senses to even consider taking him.

At a time the ugly spectre of players being paid by bookmakers and gamblers has resurfaced, what would it say to the world if Kenya picked someone who Justice Ahmed Ebrahim, the man who headed the ICC enquiry in 2004, described as “dishonest and devious in his behaviour in relation to the game of cricket” as well as “callous and greedy”.

Odumbe has shown no remorse, and earlier this month dismissed the ICC decision as a “kangaroo trial”. If picked, he would be mixing with young and impressionable players. What message would it give to them and others if someone so tainted was again allowed to strut around on the game’s biggest stage?

The best thing Cricket Kenya and the national selectors could do is state now Odumbe will not play for his country again and put the whole matter to bed for once and for all. Until they do, the coming months will see Odumbe continue to get as much press attention inside the country as the game itself.

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 Savetestcricket on (October 7, 2010, 7:54 GMT)

I completely agree with Meety's comment...why isnt kenya playing games outside the Intercontinental? Ireland's proximity to good first class cricket in England porbably helps it, but I believe the Kenya team could benefit by having camps in SA and Zim. This ought to be facilitated by the ICC if they want to develop cricket in associate countries with potential. Further, Kenya has a number of secondary schools, teeming with talented athletes, which have dilapidated ovals used for grazing cows and goats. these need to be spruced up, a couple of quid spent on kit, and get those of us here in kenya actually interested in the game for the right reasons out there to coach and I guarantee you in 15 years, we will be playing test cricket.

Posted by Ramji Senghani on (September 22, 2010, 20:58 GMT)

Can someone please explain to Odumbe, that the team needs some good players and not the cricket kit carriers/handlers...What a joke at age of 41, he wants to make a comeback...it seems another Sachin Tendulkar is about to take stage in cricket history...LOL

Posted by afred on (September 19, 2010, 16:33 GMT)

To Jack and Biblob. How can someone live in a house, what cost twice the monthly income and go for dining and wining everyday. That, gentleman, was the life of Maurice Odumbe. Martin Williamson is right for 100%. Maurice Odumbe is a shame to every sportsman and will only show bad habits to the young players. He better emulate Hansie Cronje.

Posted by Meety on (September 19, 2010, 9:32 GMT)

I think Kenya don't need to add to their woes & throw Odumbe back into the team. Kenya have far too many other important issues, like how they went from the team most likely to get Test status to being overtaken by Ireland, Scotland, Afghanistan & Netherlands & maybe even Canada! Why is it that Kenya don't seem to get many games outside of the Intercontinental. It seems that Ireland have played 10 times more games this yr then Kenya?

Posted by kimemia maina on (September 18, 2010, 9:35 GMT)

maybe the two of them should get boxing ring. :-P

Posted by Biplob B on (September 18, 2010, 5:39 GMT)

I agree with Jack fully. Players like Maurice or Samuels from WI have been treated very harshly by ICC, on charges which were of merely interacting with "some " alleged match fixers. On the other hand guys from the sub continents who have had many friends with these "shaddy" people go unpunished. This has to do with money power of Indian Cricket board, what ever they do, is right.

I belong to India, but firm believe that quality & integrity of cricket has been comprised with the ascendancy of Sub Continents money & muscle flexing powers.

Posted by Jack Spinner on (September 17, 2010, 11:50 GMT)

Yet another recycled article by Martin Williamson giving the impression that his dislike for Maurice Odumbe is personal. What exactly were Odumbe's offences? Spot fixing? Passing information to bookmakers? Was it ever disclosed which matches he was alledged to have tainted? Quit the anti Odumbe rants Mr Williamson and please tell us something interesting if you're going to comment on Kenyan cricket.

MW replies: "Recycled? Making the same point, agreed, but it needs making given Odumbe keeps making the same demands and claims. It's nothing personal, it's about people who tarnish cricket pretending they have done nothing wrong. If you really don't know what he did, as opposed to just choose not to believe it, then read the ICC report which details it all."

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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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