Kenya news May 31, 2011

Cricket Kenya overhauls players' central contracts

ESPNcricinfo staff

The fallout from Kenya's dismal performance at the World Cup continues with news the board is making substantial changes to the way central contracts are handled.

For the past few years, more than a dozen players have been on annual contracts, but this system has been increasingly criticised, with claims it led to complacency and below-par performances. It also did not prevent the contracted players striking for more pay on the eve of a tour to England last July.

The argument that giving the security of annual contracts would lead to better on-field performances has turned out to be quite the opposite.

Following a review by Cricket Kenya and the ministry for sport, a new system will be introduced with immediate effect. Twelve players will be given four-month contracts to cover the new East African competitions, and at the end of the league programme the selectors will recommend a minimum of 12 players for nine-month national contracts which are reviewed every three months by the selectors and coaching staff to monitor the players' progress. If a player is deemed not to have reached the expected standards at any quarterly review his contract could be withdrawn. Equally if a player has performed to a consistently high level his contract terms will be improved.

"Contracts will be awarded primarily based on performances in the new league structure," a statement from the board explained. "Players will be selected as much on character, attitude and commitment as playing criteria. Non-negotiable fitness will be implemented and if a player does not meet those standards he will not be offered a contract or could have an existing contract withdrawn.

"The awarding of a league contract will not guarantee a national contract and a national contract will not guarantee national selection. The national selection panel will have the flexibility to recommend additional contracts if a non-contracted player has performed to a level worthy of receiving a national contract at any time. Non contracted players added to the national squad for series/events will be paid on a pro rata basis to be negotiated on a case by case basis.

"CK will also adopt a holistic approach to player development with all players encouraged to participate in personal development programmes funded by CK. Some players have already taken advantage of CK's work in this area by taking fully or part funded business administration, computer science and coaching courses. Every player will be assessed and encouraged to improve his academic and/or vocational skills through formal training programmes.

"'There needs to be a balance between providing our leading players with some certainty of income and financial incentive to perform and ensuring that players are constantly driven to reach the standards expected and improve," Tom Sears, CK's chief executive, said. "The new format of contracts will ensure that the players that perform are well rewarded and there is always an opportunity for players to force their way in the national reckoning. The emphasis is on performance and results and the players that embrace this will be the ones that do well out of the new contract system.

"It was clear that the previous contract system was not working and there had been no improvement in individual and collective performances and results. The new format will make sure that there is a return on the significant investment Cricket Kenya makes into retained contracts and players are constantly striving to perform to their best."