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

Short-term view taken by Kenya's players

For a few dollars more ...

Martin Williamson argues that Kenya's players need to think before they act

Martin Williamson

February 16, 2007

Text size: A | A



The cancelled tri-series match was at the heart of the row © Eddie Norfolk
Enlarge
The newspaper reports of players staging sit-ins at Cricket Kenya headquarters over disputed payments was a throwback to the dark days of the post-World Cup era of the Kenyan Cricket Association. Coming a week after the country's success in the World Cricket League, it was all the more disappointing.

One has some sympathy with the players. Under the old Sharad Ghai led regime, they had cause to strike on more than one occasion as bonuses and salaries were withheld and they were forced to live a hand-to-mouth existence. So bad had things got that promised bonuses which followed Kenya reaching the World Cup semi-final in March 2003 where only paid when the new board took charge more than two years later.

But times have changed. Money is still in short supply, but the board is now run in a more transparent way. A media deal has been signed with Nimbus which will generate at least $150,000 a year, and one of the prizes for winning the WCL was $250,000 from the ICC. Things are heading the right direction.

What Kenya really needs is a major sponsor. Most likely candidates were frightened off by the operations of the old KCA. They will take some sweet-talking and reassuring if they are to be lured back.

So the action by the players yesterday was at best ill advised, at worst utter stupidity. It sent a message to the wider community that nothing had changed, that Kenyan cricket was still a disorganised and dysfunctional shambles. The reality is quite different, but the damage has been done.

It also seems likely that a few players tried to be smart and used the media to try to force Cricket Kenya's hand. The story was leaked and embellished. What was written up as a sit-in was in reality a planned meeting to discuss the issue. In the end, the only losers are the players themselves. If a sponsor cannot be found then they will be the ones who directly lose out.

The way to approach this was for one of them to have a quiet word with senior officials of CK and to meet to chat. All very low key, all very discreet. It would not have worked with the old KCA, but it would now. But by dragging dirty laundry through the mud all that has happened is that old wounds have been reopened and the game has again been made to look a mess.

The players, who are finally being paid properly for their efforts, need to look at the bigger picture rather than squabble and scrap over a relatively tiny sum. They are set to receive $5000 in bonuses and yet they have risked far more for the sake of less than $100 a man.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo

RSS Feeds: Martin Williamson

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Martin WilliamsonClose

    Open with Rohit and Binny, with Kohli at No. 3

Ian Chappell: India's batting is going the way of their bowling, and they need get their order sorted before the World Cup

    Dressing-room discontent weighs Holder down

Tony Cozier: The young WI captain must challenge the indifference shown by several of his senior players

    'I'd get rid of warm-ups in cricket'

Samit Patel also doesn't like hotel rooms without WiFi and running singles

    An order for an overhaul

Sambit Bal: The tenor of the Supreme Court verdict on the IPL corruption case is unambiguous, and it makes clear that it's time for the BCCI to look within

What do we talk about when we talk about aggression?

Alex Bowden: Why do people think players who get up in the opposition's faces also have aggressive approaches in their cricket?

News | Features Last 7 days

44 balls, 16 sixes, 149 runs

Stats highlights from an incredible day in Johannesburg, where AB de Villiers smashed the record for the fastest ODI ton

Kohli at No. 4 - defensive or practical?

It seems Virat Kohli is to not bat before the 12th or 13th over to strengthen the middle and the lower middle order. It suggests a lack of confidence in what was supposed to be India's strength in their title defence: their batting

'The definition of a cricketing genius'

Twitter reactions to AB de Villiers' record-shattering 31-ball ODI hundred

Why cricket needs yellow and red cards

David Warner's repeated transgressions tell us that the game has a discipline problem that has got out of hand

On TV it looks uglier than it actually is

Often reasonable arguments on the field look nasty beyond the boundary and on camera

News | Features Last 7 days