Friday, June 30, 2006
A press release from outgoing ICC president Ehsan Mani has stated that the six Associate teams that qualify for the 2011 World Cup will each stand to gain US$ 1 million to consolidate the growth of cricket. Speaking to Cricinfo, Mani said in relation to improving the playing standard of the Associates:
"We are going to be spending a huge amount of money in trying to do this and we need to make sure it works"
Each of the top six Associates already get US$500 000 through qualifying for the next World Cup to use to improve their development, and should be favourites to qualify again through the ICC Trophy in the UAE in three years time. Mani said on the teams qualifies for the 2007 World Cup:
"The other very important thing is that we leave behind a legacy after the World Cup for these countries to continue to develop."
This is very welcome news for Kenya, and indeed all of the top Associates, and it means the ICC Trophy will be contested more fiercely than ever before. As the BBC rightly points out, youth development in these countries must now take absolute priority. All of the Associates are going to lose some players after this coming World Cup due to age, and Kenya are no exception. Indeed for Kenya, the situation is pressing as it will be the core of the team that will be nearing retirement. 5 players that have been the backbone of the team over the past decade are all 33 or over, and it is imperative that replacements are found before the qualifying tournament for 2011. Of the five, Ravindu Shah and Martin Suji are already almost certain casualties due to injury, and unfortunately need to be replaced as soon as possible. For the other three, there may yet be some time. Hitesh Modi, Steve Tikolo and Kennedy Otieno are all 34, so one would think that they may be considering this as their last World Cup. All three have proved invaluable with the bat in the past, and hopefully Cricket Kenya will manage their replacement sensibly. Tikolo is a player a class above anyone else from the Associate nations. He is still playing exceptionally well, and of the three is the most likely to still hold his place in the team come 2011. For Modi and Otieno, it will be interesting to see how long they decide to go on. Modi is now married and settled in England, and may find that in the long term, continual travel to Kenya and around the World to play cricket clashes with family commitments. There is no doubting his current desire to play for Kenya - his efforts with broken finger are proof enough of that, but 4 year is a long time when thinking about raising a family. Otieno has already had a run in with the selectors over his omission for the match against the Netherlands. Hopefully he will reconsider his threat to retire from international cricket, as I fell he still has a good couple of years left, and believe it will take at least that long before a suitable replacement is ready.
Cricket Kenya have already begun to take steps to ensure a good transition from domestic cricket to the national team through the introduction of a schedule for the A team. What they need to do now is put in place a strong domestic set up that will encourage kids to play the game, and give them the best chance to excell. It is only through doing this that we will be able to keep ahead of the ever improving Associate rivals and keep our share of the develpoment grant.
Posted by Chemosit at 10:43 am