Monday, 21 February 2011

Cricket: If Kenya continues with this state, ICC was justified in reducing World Cup playing countries

A few days to the start of the tournament, the International Cricket Council indicated that they were hoping to cut down on the number of teams playing in the Cricket World Cup to have 10 nations ( effectively this restricts the WC to Test playing countries eliminating the Associate members from the prestigious event). And from the first game by Kenya against New Zealand, the ICC may feel justified in its proposals.
Kenyan Cricket team captain Jimmy Kamande rides on rickshaw during Opening ceremony of 2011 Cricket World Cup
For the last 5 years, the Kenyan cricket game has deteriorated to its nadir and the showing in the World Cup is not surprising. Even in the run-up to the World Cup the team played some warm up matches which it performed well below par. Cricket Kenya has tried to cover up major weaknesses in the team and the local League has all but gone to the dogs.
Infighting by the officials has meant that instead of the country fighting for Test playing status, it has been reduced to surviving in the Associate membership status ( this means we have had less One-Day Internationals and performed measly in the Twenty20 tournament. Remember Zimbabwe was suspended as a Test playing nation and technically Kenya would have been in good stead to succeed them). We currently languish in the 15th out of 17th nations in the Twenty20 standings. Surely we can do better than this.
An article by Martin Williamson on ESPN Cricinfo carefully analyses the way we have neglected our local game leading to the detriment of international showing. If we come out of this World Cup with a win, it will be out of sheer grit and not any investment made in the team. Have to recall some old hands for the tournament meant Cricket Kenya was really not sure of itself. It may also explain the reason why local media houses have not bothered to air any of the games live ( for fear of showing embarrassing scenes from the Asian sub-continent).
It's tragic when a sport has some much potential and the corresponding sports association dithers to make any meaningful investment. Even when the ICC has tried guiding our association, the Kenyan officials have not made any efforts to that effect.
We shall watch the rest of the tournament, albeit to enjoy the gentleman's game.

In Other News:
No local company wanted association with our boys, and it took the Indian company Karuturi Global Limited to see sense in shirt sponsoring them, what happened? Is it because they do not like what they see at Cricket Kenya or their target market doesn't exist in the Indian sub-continent? (Remember Indian companies have been making in-roads into the African continent, it would only be fair if we at least returned the favour by making some effort. Barbs to Kenyan corporates!)

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