Monday, August 28, 2006

Oshwal Win Junior Tournament

The Crown Berger Obuya junior cricket tournament was held for the first time this weekend at Nairobi Jafferys. I'm not sure how many teams took part, as the first I had heard about it was this report by Oscar Pilipili in the Standard. Judging by the names, it looks as though both girls and boys played in the teams. Nice to see also a good racial mix playing the game, something that can only bode well for the future.
The article in the Standard goes into more detail of the tournament, but the final was won by Oshwal High who beat Nairobi Gymkhana. Again, I'm not sure of the ages of the players involved, but good to see junior cricket not only being played, but also reported in the press. What would be even better would be to see an official league or leagues set up to nurture the talent that is obviously there and give it the foundation needed to flourish.
Already there are plenty of private schools who, at least at primary level, play their own leagues and produce players of a high calibre. What Cricket Kenya need to do is approach these schools with the aim of bringing them under one umbrella league that will bring together all junior cricket teams. Without knowing exact numbers, there would probably be enough schools playing in Nairobi alone for at least two if not three divisions, more if teams from further afield are included. With the staff and facilities they have, one would expect the club sides and private schools to dominate, certainly in the first few years. Playing them however would certainly raise the standard of many of the schools who are newer to cricket and it would also give selectors an idea of which players to watch for the future from the whole junior player base.
September is normally the beginning of the cricket term in the private schools, so it may be too late this year, but there is no reason the groundwork cannot be done now and a couple of tournaments organised where the teams from different backgrounds are introduced to the idea. Kenya has plenty of cricket talent, we just need to find a way to grow it and funnel it through to senior level.

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