Mombasa Sports Club Cricket Ground gets ODI status:
The Mombasa Sports Club’s cricket ground has been granted official One Day International (ODI) status by the International Cricket Council (ICC) following an inspection made by ICC Match Referee, Mike Procter, in June 2006.
This is an immense achievement not only for the club but also for cricket in Mombasa and the game as a whole in Kenya. It is also an important step towards the country ultimately gaining Test Status, one of the key requirements of which is for a country to have accredited venues in at least two separate centres. Until this accreditation, only Nairobi had accredited cricket venues.
Mike Procter, who scored over 20,000 runs in his First Class career from 1965 to 1989, played 7 Tests for South Africa and was Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1970, had this to say about the MSC ground in his report to the ICC:-
"The ground in Mombasa is lovely. Since the last inspection in 2000 the playing area has been extended and now meets the minimum requirements as laid down by ICC. The tree which is situated a couple of meters in from the boundary adds to the character of the field."
Mombasa Sports Club, which was founded in 1896, has had an enormous part to play in the history of cricket in Kenya. The first ever organised cricket match played in the East and Central African region between visiting seamen from HMS Sparrow and a Mombasa XI was played at this club as long ago as 1896. The scorecard for that match is treasured by the club to this day. Over the years MSC has hosted several first class fixtures involving teams from across the world including, more recently, the full national sides of Sri Lanka, West Indies and Bangladesh.
Following the ICC’s first inspection in 2000, Mombasa Sports Club increased the size of the playing area making it compliant with the minimum requirements for boundary sizes. If there was any hesitation over the mango tree inside the boundary having to be removed, Mr. Clive Hitchcock, the ICC Cricket Operations Manager was forthright in his official notification to Cricket Kenya stating:-
"Mike was very impressed by this venue and it was by far the best ground he visited. The tree inside the boundary is not a problem as obstacles are covered under Law 19.1 (c)."
Samir Inamdar, the Cricket Kenya chairman, was delighted with the news that his own home club had at last received international recognition:-
"I am particularly pleased with the approval of Mombasa Sports Club as an ODI venue and I thank the management and staff of the club for their hard work and support in ensuring that the ground and the facilities were in pristine condition when inspected. This is a tremendous boost for cricket in Mombasa and a source of great pride to Cricket Kenya. I look forward to the MSC hosting its first ODI in the near future."