Five Kenyan cricketers have turned down contracts offered by their board on grounds of insufficient compensation. Cricket Kenya had offered new national contracts to 13 cricketers; seven have accepted them. They are: captain Collins Obuya, Seren Waters, Hiren Varaiya, Rakep Patel, Runesh Gudka, Lucas Ouloch and Ragheb Aga. Alex Obanda, Shem Ngoche, James Ngoche, Nehemiah Odhiambo and Elijah Otieno turned down the contracts and the board promptly withdrew them.
Tanmay Mishra, the Mumbai-born Kenya batsman, will be available for national duty, though he's chosen to play domestic cricket in India this season. Kenya Cricket's chief executive Tom Sears said: "We are very pleased with the group of players who have committed to Cricket Kenya but obviously disappointed that some players chose not to sign their new contracts.
"Every player received an offer amounting to a basic increase to their monthly retainer of at least 10% and the opportunity to improve that figure significantly through consistent high performance. They were also offered guaranteed match fees for domestic cricket for the first time which would significantly increase their earnings. The fact that they have declined these improved offers calls into question some of the advice they have been receiving but that is a matter for the players themselves.
"Having met with all the players on several occasions and heard what they and their advisors have said, we made repeated offers during the last month to meet with the players individually to discuss their contract offers but some declined to do that, either through their own choice or by instruction from their advisors - if we are not told what the players' issues are it is impossible for us to deal with them. Cricket Kenya can only wait for so long for players to commit and the time has come for us to move on and look at other players who are seeking the opportunity to show what they can do at international level."
Several senior cricketers, including World Cup captain Jimmy Kamande and Thomas Odoyo, were not offered contracts this year in a move to look to the future. The contracts run for 12 months and offer improved salaries and match fees. It remains to be seen if the refusal from the five cricketers puts their availability in doubt. Kenya take on UAE in two limited-overs games next week, followed by a four-day Intercontinental Cup fixture in Nairobi.