Monday, May 22, 2006

NPCA Awards Night

Well this one certainly came out of left field. Quite a few people involved must have known it was on as it was attended by Samir Inamdar, Roger Harper and ICC Development Officer for Africa, Hossain Ayob. The first that this little mushroom heard of it was this report by Oscar Pilipili in the Standard today, which reveals some positive thoughts from some of the people just mentioned. There were also some good ideas on how Kenya are going to take that next step. There is also an article on cricinfo which concentrates more on Roger Harper's views.
Both Ayob and Harper have stated that Kenya's cricketers must have more exposure to the longer version of the game if we are going to remain the top Associate. This is not something that we didn't already know, but it is good to see it being stated publicly. Harper was blunt in his wording of this saying
"unless the players get used to playing longer cricket, it will be difficult to compete at the international level."
It may not have made him any friends, as Kenyans do not seem to take criticism too well, but it was spot on. One day games are fine, but there has to be a domestic structure that allows players to get a decent amount of 2-innings-a-side matches played over 3 or 4 days. Only this way will our batsmen learn the concentration required to build big innings, and our bowlers learn how to winkle players out. The reasons the Test nations are better than the Associates are many, but one of them is certainly that the players in those countries all play the longer version of the game at a domestic level.
Regarding other statements to come from those present, it is fantastic to see government support for cricket voiced by Commissioner for Sports, Gordon Oluoch. Harper noted that cricket needed government support to improve the facilities, so we will wait and see what actually comes cricket's way from the government other than words, but it is a good start.
Ayob's suggestion that clubs look into sponsoring school cricket was also a good one, and hopefully one that will find fertile soil in the minds of club administrators. Under the KCA, many clubs continued to try and grow the game without any central support. Now that Cricket Kenya are working hard to grow the game, there should be a perfect atmosphere in which to really expand it within Kenya. His most important point for me though was that all stakeholders, including the Government, Cricket Kenya (CK) and players need to work as a team. I would add to this list the clubs, provincial bodies, schools, media and public. For cricket to even get close to reaching its potential, and I strongly believe it can, all of these entities must be involved. Leave out even one, and we will find ourselves falling short once again. Involve all, and cricket could reach even higher ground than we did during the 2003 World Cup. Wouldn't it be great to be able to look back in ten tears time and say "I was part of that."

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