Cricket Wars

Cricket Kenya refuses to sanction unauthorised event

Martin Williamson

January 22, 2013

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A billboard for Cricket Wars in Nairobi, January 22, 2013
A billboard for Cricket Wars in Nairobi © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Cricket Kenya's new chairman Jackie Janmohammed is facing the first challenge of her tenure with her board refusing to sanction a planned three-day tournament in Nairobi. Among a number of issues, requests for clarification about the financials involved in the event have not been made available to the board.

The event, called Cricket Wars, was originally set to be played in December but was postponed and is now scheduled to take place between February 1 and 3 at the Nairobi Gymkhana. Organisers have indicated a number of international players are being lined up to take part despite it having no official status.

Former Kenya Cricket Association chairman Sharad Ghai, who is one of the key movers of the event, has been told by CK its board does not approve of the event and it is believed the ICC is set to confirm that stance. Without such approval overseas boards will almost certainly refuse to allow any of their players - past or present - to take part.

Closer to home, CK faces tough decisions if its own cricketers take part, as seems more than likely. Such a move would almost certainly be a breach of contract for Kenya's professionals and how the board reacts will be watched closely as an indication of how hardline it is willing to be with the country's notoriously difficult leading players.

The board is also concerned that if the event fails then the already poor image of the game in the country will take a further hit, making it even harder to sell to sponsors; equally, if it succeeds it will make money for the organisers but, so officials believe, will put nothing back into the national game.

The board has also been in touch with the authorities at Nairobi Gymkhana warning them that they risk sanctions if they allow the event to take place.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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Posted by sawan_r on (January 24, 2013, 11:37 GMT)

I have been really looking forward to this event, considering there has not been any cricketing event of this magnitude since the 90s in Kenya. It is a great shame as always that bureaucratic organizations such as Cricket Kenya, pave way to hinder events like these in Kenya which is doom for Kenyan Cricket. We need to be pro active in bringing Kenyan Cricket back on the map and if takes private individuals to do that, then they should get the full backing from Cricket Kenya.

Posted by c_Marsh_b_Lillee on (January 23, 2013, 2:48 GMT)

This sort of news breaks my heart. Why can't all stakeholders (players, officials, organisers, promoters, ground authorities, caterers, boards and associations) meet to arrange events and competitions that benefit everyone fairly, especially the players? It seems that greed is preventing progress. Success breeds success. I would love to watch meaningful, high quality cricket games when I am in Kenya.

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Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.
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