Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A few things I'd like

First up, a belated Very Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope you all had a great day, whatever your faith, and that the next year brings you all that you hope for. With this in mind, I thought I would look at Kenyan cricket and make a small wish-list of the things I would like to see put in place for 2007. This is a time when all of the other Associates are making changes and improving themselves, and if we are not careful, we will fall behind. Without further preamble, here are the things I think we need to see if the game is to continue to thrive in Kenya:
  • A domestic competition bringing together the top players from each province, plus possibly Uganda and Tanzania. I have talked about this before, but if each province gets 1 team in the regional comp plus 1 extra team for every 10 teams playing in their league(s), it would work out about right at the moment. Assuming that Uganda and Tanzania each get 1 team, the make up would be as follows: NPCA - 3 teams, CCA, Rift Valley & Central (?) 1 team each.
  • 3 or 4 day domestic cricket - preferably as part of the above provincial tournament, but if not at least bringing together the top 50 players in Kenya. Again it would be great to include Uganda and Tanzania.
  • Leagues set up at Under 13, Under 15 and Under 17 levels. Could be started with schools and clubs that already play. A must if we are to keep ahead of our rivals.
  • More 4 day cricket for the national team. There is no reason that when we play teams in the Intercontinental Cup, we cannot play a series of say 3 games against them of which only one counts towards the Intercontinental cup.
  • A Publicity Manager for Cricket Kenya. Too often there is no way of publicising what they are doing and there is certainly no active Press Officer that I know of. Someone needs to be brought in who can not only market the game to the public, but keep the press informed and on-side, maintain the website (currently an embarrassment) and generally promote the game.
  • A Player's Association or Union. It is imperative that players are represented by one of their own at the administrative level of the game.
  • A turf wicket for Nakuru. They have an active administration who are trying to grow the game. To produce players who can compete with those from Nairobi and Mombasa, they must have the chance to play on a proper wicket.
  • Regular fixtures for the A team/Under 19 team. Kenya needs to groom the youngsters who will one day play for the national team. A home tour by Denmark and the Uganda tour in January (more comments on this here) are perfect opportunities to put this in place. We must not miss out on another U19 World Cup, and we must be competitive when we do qualify.
  • Better coverage of cricket in the local media. This would tie in with the Press Officer position I noted above, but could also be helped by all involved in cricket writing to/phoning/emailing radio stations, TV stations and newspapers.
  • More provinces and clubs to set up and maintain their own websites. So far only the CCA and three clubs are represented on the web, and none of those are regularly updated.
  • More ODI games against Test sides after the World Cup. I know this is an area where Cricket Kenya has done exceptionally well so far, but it needs to continue. Not just for the sake of the standard of Kenyan cricket, but to keep Nimbus happy and the cash coming in through sponsorship as well.
  • Greater communication and cooperation between all involved in Kenyan cricket. This next year is a huge opportunity for the game in Kenya. We are playing in the World Cup, hosting the WCL and the biggest team sport in Kenya (football) is in all sorts of difficulties. It is an opportunity that used correctly should bring a huge boost to player and supporter numbers.

It is a lot to ask I know, and there are several things there that will take more than a year to really get up and going. However, as I mentioned above, this is perhaps the best ever opportunity Kenyan cricket will have in the foreseeable future. It is imperative for the game that 2007 is not allowed to go to waste.

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