Friday, May 26, 2006
Sad news for Maurice Odumbe and his fans. His appeal against the five year ban imposed in August 2004 for taking payments from a bookmaker and to quote Justice Ebrahim, who initially pushed for the five year length of the ban, behaving in a "outrageously reprehensible" manner in relation to cricket has been rejected.
It should be noted here that Ebrahim said after the initial sentence was passed that Odumbe was not found guilty of actual match fixing, that he had already had a brush with Odumbe previously banning him for 2 matches, and that the chief witnesses in the case were an estranged formed wife and an ex-girlfriend. Odumbe also got little support from the then KCA and it was hinted that this was due to his outspoken resistance to their policies.
Odumbe was however found guilty on 12 counts in August 2004, and the five year ban confirmed in October of the same year, effectively ending his career.
Yesterday High court judge, Roseline Wendoh rejected Odumbe's appeal, though it seems that the ruling was made on technical grounds regarding the appeal, rather on the original case. Effectively, her ruling seems to be that as Odumbe had "submitted to the code of conduct and rules of the cricket council, the rules were sufficient to determine his case." To me, this sounds like an official way of saying "sorry mate, the umpires decision is final" irrespective of whether his appeal actually had merit or not.
This is a sad ending for a player who gave an awful lot to Kenyan cricket. Whether he really was involved with bookmakers, is something I still am not sure of. There was obviously evidence, and as they say 'there is no smoke without fire'. It was however, to my mind at least, questionable. He also stood to lose more than he gained, and as well as a fantastic cricketer, Odume always came across to me as being an intelligent man. Even if he was involved, there are plenty of players around the World who have done as bad, if not worse and got away with a much more lenient punishment. I wonder really, if this had happened to a top player of a Test playing country whether the result would have been the same. As with so many things to do with this case, I guess we will never really know.
Some will no doubt remember Odumbe as a match fixer and cheat. I will remember him differently. I will remember a man that was always there when Kenya had a great success. I will remember the way he stood up for his country against the big boys, the way he took on whatever bowler they threw at him. Most of all, I will remember the passion that he always showed when he played the game. I refuse to believe this was an act. Maybe I am naive, but the Odumbe I choose to remember is the one that recived man-of-the match awards in three consecutive World Cups. Whatever the reason, his absence is a loss to cricket.
Posted by Chemosit at 9:32 am