Former captain's troubles intensify October 25, 2004

From bad to worse for Odumbe

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Maurice Odumbe: 'Why would a parent remain so silent when one of the favourite sons is crucified?' © Getty Images
Maurice Odumbe, who was banned for five years in August after being found guilty by an ICC hearing of receiving money from bookmakers, has critcised the Kenyan authorities for abandoning him.

"Even if their hands were tied as they said, shouldn't they have done anything to show solidarity with a former captain?" Odumbe asked in an interview with the East Africa Standard. "Why would a parent remain so silent when one of the favourite sons is crucified?"

According to the report, there are fanciful rumours circulating that Odumbe paid the price for certain members of the Kenyan board (KCA) having rubbed the international community up the wrong way. Odumbe is clearly happy to further such speculation, adding: "Did somebody want me out of the way because I was a thorn in the flesh?"

Such suggestions were dismissed by Sharad Ghai, the chairman of the KCA. "We only followed international rules," he said. "The judgment was made by an independent person." But Ghai went on to say that in his opinion, Odumbe's lawyers should have objected to the hearing's judge, Justice Ahmed Ebrahim. "They should have protested against the presiding judge from the word go. I don't think he [Odumbe] was very aggressive in his defence," he explained. "I would have totally objected to the judge and I am sure they would have succeeded in that."

Odumbe, meanwhile, has vowed to fight the ban, but it seems he has little hope of getting it overturned. He is also battling what he describes as negative reporting. "Many things have been said about me, some that border on the absurd," he told the Standard. "That I am arrogant, flashy and have a lot of money which I use on scotch and women. But all that is absolutely rubbish. I am just a normal guy who loves having fun after a hard game of cricket."

And Odumbe has other worries closer to home, with reports that Katherine Maloney, his ex-wife whose evidence was key to the prosecution in his case, gave police a statement alleging that Odumbe threatened to abduct the couple's eldest son last summer. "The threats from Maurice have been constant and overwhelming," she said in a statement released by the police. "I have taken a number of security precautions such as 24 hour security guards and alarm buttons, but I still do not feel completely safe."

Odumbe has a different take on events. "Each time I call her to find out how my boys are doing, she starts by asking me `Are you threatening me?' I don't understand the hostility. I get the impression that she is desperately looking for the safest means to leave the country with my boys without my consent because with the divorce case still on, I must give consent for the boys to leave the country."

All in all, it's been a bad few months for Odumbe.