Kenya's contractual dispute resolved
The damaging contractual dispute between Cricket Kenya and the national squad appears to have been resolved, and it was announced on Monday that an agreement had been reached over new contracts. Following a series of meetings between CK officials and the players and their representatives, the players signed new one-year contracts which run until May 31 2011.
The divisive disagreement had rumbled on for more than two months, reaching its nadir when the players boycotted training in June, leading to the last-minute cancellation of a warm-up tour to England ahead of the World Cricket League Division One tournament in Netherlands that left CK an estimated $50,000 out of pocket.
The contracts for the 16-man national squad had expired at the end of May and had been expected to be renewed without difficulty, CK offering a 10% pay rise despite continuing poor on-field performances from the team.
However, at the beginning of June a four-man deputation claiming to represent the squad met with CK officials and set out new terms which were deemed unacceptable. They included reverting to a number of old terms and conditions which had been set aside a few years ago after the ICC, African Cricket Association and CK decided they stifled new players. With neither side willing to budge, Kenya's preparations for the WCL tournament were chaotic at best and unsurprisingly a demoralised team failed to win a single game during the event.
"Obviously this has been a difficult issue that resulted in a completely unacceptable situation where we were unable to fulfil an important part of our preparation for a major ICC event," said Tom Sears, CK's chief executive.
"It is fair to say some good has come out of the initial dispute in the fact that after a series of meetings and presentations the players now have a better understanding of Cricket Kenya's plan for the future, the constraints we as an organisation face and their responsibilities as members of the national squad. All the players have now agreed new contracts with our original budget for the year which was crucial."
"As a squad we are very pleased to have resolved all the outstanding issues relating to our contracts," said captain Maurice Ouma, who had aligned himself with the deputation claiming to represent the player's interests during the dispute. "The process has been very positive and constructive and we are now looking forward to focusing on our cricket and achieving the standards we set ourselves as a squad, something which we have failed to do recently.
"We are confident that we have started a new page and everyone at Cricket Kenya is united and looking forward to a positive future together."
Kenya's next international engagement is an Intercontinental Cup game against Afghanistan at the Nairobi Gymkhana club, starting on October 2. Kenya are currently fourth on the competition's points table and have no hope of making the final. That match will be followed by three one-day internationals against the visitors which may well be Kenya's last chance to prepare for next year's World Cup - now only six months away - and so the resolution of the contractual crisis could not have come sooner.