Former Kenya captain disgraced

Maurice Odumbe banned for five years

Wisden Cricinfo staff

August 17, 2004

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Maurice Odumbe: banned for five years © Getty Images
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Kenya's former captain, Maurice Odumbe, has been banned for five years by the Kenyan Cricket Association, after being found guilty of receiving money from bookmakers on several occasions. Justice Ahmed Ebrahim, the former judge who headed the enquiry, found Odumbe guilty on 12 counts, including accepting US$5000 for "fixing a match in Zimbabwe".

ICC, which has received a copy of the Ebrahim Report into Odumbe's activities, described the decision as "entirely appropriate", and Kenya will now have to find a replacement for their Champions Trophy squad.

While the report does not identify the bookmakers, the Indian connection was apparent from Odumbe's several visits to India between January and October 2002 when he was hosted in various hotels in India by "known bookmakers". Last month, a court in Nairobi heard how Odumbe's estranged wife collected thousands of dollars on his behalf.

"The Ebrahim Report is sobering reading for everyone in the game," said Malcolm Speed, the chief executive of the ICC. "It highlights that the risk of corruption remains very real and everyone must be alert to the dangers."

In his summing-up of the case, Justice Ebrahim was forthright in his opinion of Odumbe's actions. "I do not believe that anyone involved in cricket had any doubts as to what was expected of them and what sanctions were in place in the event of anyone breaching the rules.

"Far from shouldering this responsibility, Mr Odumbe has shown himself to be dishonest and devious in his behaviour in relation to the game of cricket. He has been callous and greedy in the way he has conducted himself.

"There is no suggestion that he was in desperate straits and in dire need of money because of some serious difficulty which may have befallen him. The evidence, if anything, shows him living a lifestyle of pleasure and irresponsibility.

"Far from taking heed of the warnings of the dire consequences which would follow such behaviour ... Mr Odumbe chose to thumb his nose at [the ICC] and continued his dishonest ways. He has exhibited no remorse. He has not indicated any intention to mend his ways. Instead he has chosen to cast doubts on the honesty and integrity of people who have despaired of his behaviour."

At the age of 35, the ban almost certainly represents the end of a fine career for Odumbe, who played in 61 one-day internationals, and captained Kenya to a famous victory over West Indies at Pune in 1996.

He won a Man-of-the-Match award in three consecutive World Cups, most recently against Bangladesh at Johannesburg in 2003, when his unbeaten 52 and a four-wicket haul carried Kenya towards the semi-finals.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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