Wednesday, August 23, 2006

MSC Given Nod For ODI Status

Yesterday, the ICC approved Kenya's oldest cricket club, Mombasa Sports Club as Kenya's newest ODI venue. This is a huge step forward for Kenya in terms of growing the game at the coast, and another small step back in the direction of Test cricket. While the latter remains a long way away still, this development fulfils one of the outstanding criteria needed and as such takes us just that little bit closer. Following is the media release from Cricket Kenya:
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CRICKET KENYA PRESS RELEASE
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Mombasa Sports Club Cricket Ground gets ODI status:
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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.
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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.
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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."
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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.
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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)."
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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."
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A great success indeed for Samir and Cricket Kenya. Hopefully this now means that at least one of the matches against Bermuda in November will be played at the venue. Coast cricket has reportedly been struggling for numbers this season, so this will be a welcome boost to increase the game's popularity in the region. Next on the list, a venue in Rift Valley of Kisumu?

1 comment:

Ram said...

Nick,

Great to hear that CK have pulled off a significant victory by helping MSC get ODI status...In one of my earlier posts, I had expressed my concern that for cricket to become a national game in Kenya, it has to spread across the length and breadth of the country...And what better way to start than securing an ODI or two for MSC against the visiting Bermudans?

I would be happy if you could provide information on the current ODI grounds in Kenya including ones that are expected to get ODI status in the near future...Now that two cities in Nairobi and Mombasa (the two biggest Kenyan cities?) are out of the way, what other cities remain?...I hope CK realizes that this is as much a part of the development program as other activities like marketing, introducing the game to more and more schools, finding sponsorships etc...