Cricket Wars January 22, 2013

Cricket Kenya refuses to sanction unauthorised event

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