Cricket Wars

Kenyan Cricket Wars postponed again

Martin Williamson

January 30, 2013

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A billboard for Cricket Wars in Nairobi, January 22, 2013
A billboard for the scrapped Cricket Wars in Nairobi which was due to take place this weekend © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

The controversial Cricket Wars tournament which was due to take place this weekend at Nairobi Gymkhana has been postponed for a second time. While not an official event, the last-minute cancellation is another blow for the already tarnished image of Kenyan cricket which is widely seen as disorganised and ravaged by in-fighting.

Organisers, who have failed to respond to questions in recent days, broke the news on the tournament's Facebook page. "We are having to postpone it but we assure you that it is going to happen soon," a post on Wednesday morning said. "Thank you for all the support, we appreciate it."

The three-day competition was originally scheduled for early December and then, at short notice, moved to the first weekend of February. But organisers had fallen foul of Cricket Kenya after they failed to respond to repeated requests for clarity over the financial arrangements. As a result, no players affiliated to the board - or any board overseas - was given clearance to take part.

It was clear by Tuesday that there were problems. ESPNcricinfo was contacted by someone who had paid for a concession at the ground only the be advised the event had been delayed for at least a fortnight.

Earlier this month Jay Varia, one of the movers behind the tournament, boasted there would be "Kenyan and international cricketers" taking part, but with the board refusing to sanction the event it is unclear who will appear. While local club players could have made up the numbers it was highly unlikely any of the Kenyan national team, who have professional contracts with the board, would have been allowed to participate.

There was at least more clarity on the non-cricketing talent lined up to take part with media website reporting eight Indian TV names were due to head to Nairobi including Manav Gohil, Vrajesh Hirjee, Madhura Naik, Sehban Azim and Hassan Zaidi.

However, Gohil told the site "we will travel soon but the dates are still need to be worked out" while Naik admitted she had no idea how to play cricket, adding: "I am scared that I might fling the cricket bat thinking it to be a baseball."

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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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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