May 3, 2011

Kenya

Kenya unveil ambitious new domestic structure

Martin Williamson

Cricket Kenya has announced new 20 and 50-over domestic competitions aimed at bolstering the standard of cricket in the country. The inclusion of two Ugandan sides in the six-team set-up will also provide a valuable boost to their up-and-coming neighbours.

The gulf between the NPCA league, Kenya's premier competition, and the national side has been a worry for a long time. In 2009 an attempt was made to establish a four-team elite event in both three-day and limited-over formats, but it foundered because of a lack of finance and poor support from players.

The latest initiative will feature four Kenyan sides - two from Nairobi, one each from Coast and Rift Valley - as well as two Ugandan teams. Each side will play ten games over weekends, with a Twenty20 match on a Saturday followed a day later by a 50-over contest. The leading four teams in each event would then progress to play-offs and a final.

Nationally contracted players will be split between sides to ensure a fair balance between the competitors, and Tom Sears, Cricket Kenya's chief executive, told ESPNcricinfo there were also plans to bring in overseas players from the subcontinent. "I believe by bringing in players from abroad we have the best chance of our players improving their game," he said.

Original plans had been for all six sides to come from within Kenya, but Sears admitted that "the level of competition was such that we could offer not enough strength in depth to provide strong enough cricket". He added that as Africa's leading Associate, it was Kenya's responsibility to help the progress of Uganda. "They have good players," he said. "That's why we opted to give them a chance to take part."

It was also revealed that a media deal had been agreed with Supersport for them to cover the semi-finals and finals of each competition.

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Posted by Matt_D on (May 30, 2011, 12:11 GMT)

This is wonderful news. I agree with above comments, and would like to see some 3-4 day cricket, but if this modest beginning is a success then changes can be made. Good on Kenya for recognising that the first step to international success is in promoting the health of domestic cricket.

Posted by Leigh on (May 28, 2011, 1:55 GMT)

@Meety, geographically Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania are a lot closer to Kenya (Zambia is a little further). I think that would be the reason Jashan suggested those countries to have expansion teams. If travelling longer distances wasn't an issue then I'd definitely agree that Namibia and Zimbabwe should be included.

Posted by Meety on (May 25, 2011, 3:00 GMT)

@ Ricardo Johnson - whats the point? Associates are struggling to get a clear pathway to the top in the 50 over format, with the ICC trying to push the Associates towards T20. If the ICC succeed, why would Associates even bother with 50 over matches? @Jashan(India)- I actually think that Kenya should of tried to link with Zim & Namibia. That being said merging with Uganda is a good move. Maybe they still could get Namibia on board?

Posted by Ricardo Johnson on (May 17, 2011, 17:50 GMT)

I agree 1000% with Colin. why can't associate sides see the value of 3-4 day cricket??? you don't have to put on loads of games. you can even use 3 day games. saturday and sunday a weekends. just add in fridays occasionally, and eventually add in the other east african nations. Can some one please explain to me why associate cricket followers dont seem to grasp the importance of multi day cricket???

Posted by colin macbeth on (May 9, 2011, 12:23 GMT)

It's not that different from the EA provincial league that I and others have been proposing for the last 15 months; that would, of course, take in 3-4 day games which this will not. But it's a good start. Kenya and Uganda need each other (vide my article in The Razor of April 28: 'Battered East African cricket can rise together'). The inclusion of Uganda, whose two-division national league is superior and better organised than that of the NPCA, will be essential to its success. Maybe the women will also take up the cudgel, and one day Tanzania, Zambia and Rwanda come in.

Posted by Jashan(India) on (May 6, 2011, 10:09 GMT)

In long term this tournament should expand to 10 teams 4 from Kenya 2 from Uganda 2 from Tanzania 1 from Zambia 1 from Rwanda

This would not affect the quality of cricket and give the league much bigger market. From present market of 70.4 M Population and 49.5 B$ GDP to a larger market of 137 M Population and 93.3B$ GDP doubling the market and a much attractive proposition to the sponsors which is roughly the size of Bangladesh market and even half the passion for game make a great proposition.

Already many efforts are going on for making economic unity and sports can pave a wave to lead it all the way

Posted by Phil S. on (May 5, 2011, 10:37 GMT)

I hope this goes well for Kenya. Good to see Uganda getting a look in too.

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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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