Kenya invest heavily in improving facilities
Kenya's grounds are undergoing major overhauls ahead of next year's ICC Under-19 World Cup which will be staged at various centres around the country. A total of sixteen countries will take part including the ten Full Member countries and six Associate qualifiers.
A recent inspection by Andy Atkinson, the ICC's pitch inspector, highlighted areas of concern that needed urgent attention. The concerns centred on the need for substantial improvements in the quality of the surfaces of the venues. Atkinson is expected to be back in Kenya in the next few days to examine how things are progressing.
Existing venues in Nairobi and Mombasa are undergoing various degrees of renovation. The biggest overhaul is at Mombasa's Coast Gymkhana which has had its entire outfield levelled and relaid with a new pitch installed.
New venues at Rift Valley Sports Club and Greensteds, both of which are located in the town of Nakuru, have also seen substantial improvements where, until now, cricket was only played on artificial pitches.
So far, the programme of works, which is estimated to cost in the region of US$ 250,000, has been funded by Cricket Kenya. This represents a sizeable investment by the board as none of this work is funded by the ICC. The only tangible benefit Kenya will get from hosting the World Cup will be around $150,000 which, in accordance with the ICC's regulations, will only be released after the event.
However, the tournament, the first major one in the country since the 2000 Champions Trophy, will give the prestige of the game inside Kenya a boost, and preparations are already well underway to ensure everything runs smoothly.