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Daily Nation : February 2nd 2014
SUNDAY NATION February 2, 2014 SUNDAY SCORE door of Test status, CK, in just 10 years, is about to lose it’s ODI position as game plunges to a new low cricket lies stricken on the crease operate from Members Only clubs in Nairobi. There were so many changes as players were selected and dropped, almost whimsically because the technical bench and/or the selection panel’s criteria was not informed by performance but how good their relationship with certain players were. Senior or more-experienced players were dropped arbitrarily and suddenly, creating a vacuum and leaving the less experienced players rudderless and they were unable cope with the pressures of the game or after losses. The situation was even made worse by lack of youth development structures, meaning that there was no talent pool from w h e r e players could be drawn, thus there was always recycling of players, a n d when things got worse, the ones who had been ejected were recalled. “We have been having too ugly head. By the time the erstwhile Sharad Ghai-led Kenya Cricket Association was replaced by the Samir Inamdar-led Cricket Kenya, it was clear that Kenya cricket had a wound that needed to be treated before it grew bigger. But that was not to be as what fol- lowed was a long period of real and imagined distractions within the boardroom which failed to arrest the growing indiscipline in the dressing room where there was no team, but individual players who owed allegiances to different parties. Team selection was always met with discordant voices from within and without Cricket Kenya, successive coaches were just going through the motions and the divisions in the team were more visible during train- ing sessions when the “senior” players used to be on their own. To be fair, the Inamdar-led Cricket Kenya dressed the festering wound well, and very little of the rot was visible to the outside world, read media, which was so hang up on the previous administration’s shortcomings, and painted him as a frugal administrator under whose watch Cricket Kenya would never be in the red. Either by design or by default, they did not look at other aspects such as youth development programmes, never even realised that Kenya was increasingly playing (build up matches) against weaker sides and losing, or that the playing unit was being torn apart by outside forces and the selection criteria was skewed, always influenced by local aristocrats who many changes starting with the players, to captains and even coaches,” says Francis Otieno, who was in the national team from 2002 to 2010 but did not make it to any World Cup squad. The festering wound which the Inamdar-led Cricket Kenya inherited and failed to treat and instead dressed so well became visible during the 2011 World Cup when Kenya failed to win a single match and even though there were attempts at making some changes, the damage had been done. In December 2012, Jackie Janmohamed (inset) inherited the wound and there was a lot of hope that she would treat the wound because she was a part of the office which oversaw the success of local cricket. But it has turned out quite differently and it is under her watch when the decade of rot in local cricket has been laid bare because Kenya failed to qualify for four global events and also lost their ODI status. “Other teams worked hard to get where they are, but we have not had any meaningful preparations during the last four years,” Francis says. David Obuya, who made three World Steve Tikolo, Kenya player/coach Samir Inamdar, former CK boss Cup appearances, also submits that little was done in the years leading to the qualifiers. “Preparations were poor,” he says. “Kenya needed to play more international games to understand the new rules that ICC has introduced and also to gauge their strength,” he adds. Cricket in Kenya is dying slowly. It ain’t cricket — in all senses of the phrase. Sport 45 DISTRESS CALL | Clay Muganda All hands on deck to help save the game Meaningless changes have been the hallmark of Kenya’s successive cricket administrators for the past decade as they try to stamp their authority and perpetuate cartels. For instance, from 2011 the Ken- yan team has been captained by four different players: Maurice Ouma was sacked just before the 2011 World Cup and replaced by J immy Kamande, who was dropped from the team altogether after the dismal performance. Collins Obuya succeeded Ka- mande but he reportedly resigned and the current captain is Rakep Patel. Foreign coaches — whose number I have lost count of — were being hired as fast and as clueless as they come. Even when they were not deliv- ering, they could not be sacked because they had been drafted in to Members Only Clubs’ cliques where they could be convinced to pick and drop certain players without regard to their fitness or performance levels. Owed allegiance They owed allegiance not to the game of cricket and were not keen on building strong teams or ensuring that youth development structures were in place. Instead, they were answerable to individuals who are still stuck in the rut of cricket being a game of aristocrats - them - yet in essence they are just small fish in even smaller ponds because they cannot even negotiate corporate sponsorship deals. The failure to have a proper MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION All rounder Thomas Odoyo in training at Ruaraka Club last month. Odoyo was recalled to the national team as a player and saw action in Kenya’s failed World Cup qualifier campain in New Zealand. youth development structure has been the undoing of cricket, and now that the ODI status is technically gone — unless there is a change of heart at the International Cricket Council — Kenya face an even bleaker future because funding will decrease significantly. What this situation has created is a cycle which Kenya might not come out of. With less funding from ICC, chances of Kenya performing well and moving to a higher status are diminished. That means Kenya might even get relegated to a lower division where there is even less funding and that means local cricket will be in more trouble. Unless corporate sponsors come on board and help Kenya rebuild, the future is dark, very dark, and cricket in Kenya will be dead and buried within a few months.
February 1st 2014
February 3rd 2014