Wednesday, December 12, 2007
These are not good signs.
During the recent stakeholders meeting, it was noted that standards in the NPCA league are dropping. Despite all the infighting and politicking that goes on, the NPCA are still the only body organising regular and competitive cricket. As far as I am aware (and it is not through want of trying for information) little competitive cricket has been played in either Coast or Rift Valley in the last 6 months, maybe more. Again, these are not good signs.
A country's national team strength is based on its domestic structure and Kenya are in real danger of losing out to the chasing pack. Sponsorship money is in for the Zonal league and it should take off soon. It is not before time and will be a welcome boost to the top 60 players in the country as they get to play each other on a regular basis at all forms of the game. It will certainly help those players and will benefit the national team.
What will happen to the rest of the players however? It is imperative that Cricket Kenya also look to the development and promotion of the game to grow the grass root numbers, especially at a youth level. It is a must that development at school age be driven at a national level and not left up to individuals and clubs. Those clubs that do have good development systems, such as Kongonis, need to be supported and other clubs need to be given assistance to do the same. Private schools should also be brought into the fold to add their facilities and player base. From my days at Kenton, I am sure there are players from that circle who would add strength to the national teams at Under 13 and Under 15 level and hence benefit the overall standards of the game.
Without a good feed of players from junior ranks, Kenya will continue to lose ground to the chasing pack. It is as simple as that and all stakeholders in Kenyan cricket need to put aside their differences and realise that unless they cooperate to grow the game at youth level, all their bickering will be in vain anyway.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I have just read this story in the NZ Herald about how Afghanistan, one of the Associates who are fast improving, want to play a variety of established cricketing nations including New Zealand.
Given the Kiwis propensity to flee at the slightest hint of danger to their team (remember the 2003 World Cup), I couldn't resist having a dig when I read the following quote from Afghanistan national coach Taj Malik:
"We are sure if we do not beat them, we can fight them."
Apologies for the terrible drawing (ignore the scribbles in the top right - they are Kennedy Obuya's scores so far this season for Caboolture).
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I arrive in Kenya on 31st December having traveled via Dubai. While i am in Kenya, Kenya fly to the UAE to play them on the 9th of January. Then at the end of my Holiday when I will be spending 4 nights in Dubai, Kenya will be taking on Namibia in Nairobi. something is not right with this picture!
I found out about these dates the day after I booked my (non changeable) tickets having been hassling the ICC for the dates for a while now so I could work in some cricket watching to the holiday. Then they wonder why they don't get bigger crowds and more support. FFS - my neighbour's half blind poodle could organise things better!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
That Cricket Kenya organised the tour and that they spread the games around different teams allowing different players to gain experience is to be lauded. It is however slightly disappointing that Kenya A were not able to put up a better performance. It would also have been nice if the opportunity of having Denmark and Uganda both in the country had been taken to play a triangular with Kenya A. The way Uganda are playing, they probably would have won that event, but it would have been good experience for all concerned. CCA and NPCA could still have been given warm up games against either of the teams so that they didn't miss out.
what Kenya A's results do show is that there is still a fairly big gulf between the players in the national team and the back up or fringe players. If Kenya are going to develop into a more competitive unit, this gap needs to be bridged. This should begin to happen once the much touted National League gets underway - supposedly next month. There seems to be some confusion as to the teams that will play in that, but it sounds like it could be 2 from Nairobi and 1 each from Coast, Rift and Central with the latter 2 heavily subsidised by Nairobi players, certainly to begin with.
I think that Cricket Kenya should also include Kenya Under 19s as a separate team in this competition. It would certainly help bring on the next generation and should lead to stronger development sides and better integration of the fringe players into the national squad as they will be more used to playing a more competitive brand of cricket.
In the meantime, the national team play their first of 3 ODIs against Bermuda today. Let's hope Odoyo and Obanda can continue their good form and that some of the others also make big scores and take plenty of wickets. Make no mistake, this is a series that Kenya really should dominate.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
This season should have provided a three way battle for the title with Kanbis, Swamibapa and new comers Stray Lions all battling out for the top honours in Kenyan cricket. At the beginning of the season the clubs met with the NPCA and the issue of players away on national duty was raised. It was decided then that no matches would be postponed and the teams would have to delve into their lower grades to make up sides. Everyone was happy with this until Swamibapa started to lose matches because their players were away representing the country. They requested other matches be delayed and when the NPCA refused, they withdrew their team from the Super Division in protest.
What short sighted idiocy. Kenya's top cricketers get little enough cricket at is is, but now the Swamibapa players, who make up the bulk of the national team will go into the series against Canada and Bermuda with hardly any cricket under their belts since the 20-20 world Cup. Instead of biting the bullet and putting out the best side they could under the circumstances, Swamibapa have tried to hold the game to ransom. The NPCA, quite rightly, have stood their ground and all that has been achieved is that the players (whom both the club and the administration are essentially there to serve) once again get the raw end of the deal. Worse is that Kenya have two must-win Intercontinental Cup games coming up and go in under prepared as well as having no national coach. The latter is certainly no fault of Swamibapa, but the lack of cricket certainly is and if the team lose because of it, I for one will hold them largely responsible. It must be tempting for the selectors to look elsewhere at the players who have been in action and have shown good form. Harsh on the Swamibapa players perhaps, but maybe they should have prevailed more upon the club to do the right thing.
Swamibapa's stand is just the latest in a series of poor and selfish actions made by a variety of cricket administrators in Kenya over the last year. When will the buffoons that make these sorts of decisions realise that all they are doing by them is hurting an already fragile game. As administrators of the game, they are there to serve it, not the other way round. If they cannot grow up and do their job properly, they should not be running a bath let alone what should be Kenya's premier team sport. It is high time that politics and personal pride was kicked out of Kenyan cricket. There should be no space in the game's set up for it and the sooner those responsible grow up and realise where their priorities should be, the sooner the people that play and love the game can get on and do just that without senseless interference.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
"Unless Cricket Kenya makes real and concrete steps to expand their young player base beyond the handful of international schools that already have cricketing facilities then they shouldn't be surprised that they are having so much trouble finding talented youngsters to fill the voids left by such players like Ravi Shah and Morris Odumbe and that the few young players are struggling so much to cope. Methinks they should borrow a leaf from sports like Athletics Kenya, who have built a global powerhouse of an athletics team of the talents they uncover on a regular basis in national level sports competitions,and more recently the Kenya Rugby Football Union, in starting a public schools cricket competition. They could for example begin by selecting a core of say 5 schools in Nairobi, Rift Valley and Coast provinces to set up nets on their own school compound and regular access to a nearby cricket pitch for use when they need to play practice or real matches against each other. These would then act an extra source of new blood for clubs and if they are good enough who knows."
Well said Andrew.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
He stressed the need for a multi-day competition as highlighted by Roger Harper and the Late Bob Woolmer (and countless others as well). He also noted the demise of the domestic League and the fact that selectors do not seem to use it as a basis for selection anymore. With the two top domestic runscorers sitting at home while the national team was bundled out for two sub 90 scores, it is hard to argue with. He also draws attention to the fact that the only cricket really happens in Nairobi, but could have gone on to say that cricket in other areas, namely Coast and Rift Valley have been going backwards. Well judging by the lack of communication and news from them anyway.
Finally the article points out the gains made by Uganda in growing their game and mentions that unless Kenya follow suit, we may not qualify for the next World Cup. It is alarming reading and may be an over reaction to the terrible performance of the team in South Africa, but he has got a lot right. Unless Cricket Kenya start to look at sorting out the domestic situation at all levels, we are in serious strife. Promises have been made for 2 years now about national leagues and junior development. It is about time we started to see those promises being fulfilled.
Friday, September 14, 2007
The following are direct quotes taken from the Daily Nation and are from Samir Inamdar, Chairman of Cricket Kenya after Kenya's record loss to New Zealand:
“I have asked the coach, Roger Harper, to prepare a full report. We have problems in all the departments. The team is very inconsistent, we do well in one game (referring to win over Bangladesh in the build-ups) and badly in the next game. I’m concerned because even the players’ contracts are pegged to performance,” Inamdar said.
...No one managed 20 runs. Inamdar said: “We need better players. The transition of the team has not gone well. Most of the players who took part in the 2003 World Cup have retired and the youngsters who replaced them are yet to click.”
If I was Harper, I would turn around and lay the blame back on the shoulders of the administration. It is not his or the teams fault that Kenya's top players are not playing each other in a proper national domestic comp. It is not his or the team's fault that there is no First Cass comp in Kenya to make the good players into great players. Kenya were destroyed in 2 overs of fast bowling. This is not surprising considering that the format of cricket played in Kenya does not generate genuine quicks, so the batsmen do not know how to handle them. The only areas where Harper can be blamed are in the selection - he is on the committee and in match preparation, which from watching him previously is fine.
Selection is certainly a query, but there are only really a couple of batsmen at the moment who can be considered unfortunate not to be there: Ramesh Mepani (Kanbis) and Charles Obuya (Jafferys). As the form players at the moment, it is disappointing they are left at home despite Kenya having a weak line up at the moment. 20-20 is also a different form of the game and CK would have done better to hold a selection tournament bringing together the best players into 4 teams, playing a round robin and choosing a squad from the best performers. Some of the contracted players would no doubt have been left behind and there would probably be some new names in the team too. That would be no bad thing for any of them. Those selected would also have been better prepared for the Nbi quadrangular and hence the WC itself.
Regards new players not clicking, I don't know that this is entirely true. Mishra has for the most part impressed and so has Obanda in longer forms of the game. Nehemiah Odhiambo also continues to improve all the time. As for Ouma, who is singled out for poor performances, this is a selection matter. Drop him down to the A side (making sure they get to play matches) until he regains his confidence, then give him another go if his A team performance warrants.
Again, bringing through new talent is a factor that CK should be addressing themselves rather than needing a report made by the coach. The answer should be simple:
- Bring back the Development Academy
- Set up a proper national domestic comp at all forms of the game at all age levels
- Schedule more matches for Kenya A and the U19 against teams such as Uganda & Tanzania
- Revitalise schools cricket to keep the youngsters coming through.
- Ensure pitch quality and equipment is there to allow talent to flourish.
- Promote the game properly to grow the fanbase and hence the numbers playing.
It should not be that hard to get right!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Watching yesterday's loss, it was painful in the extreme to see some of the shots played and the trouble that we got into when facing genuine pace. Kenya are never going to produce genuine fast bowlers capable of both playing for our country and giving our best batsmen the practice they need to cope with opposing quicks unless there is a First Class competition for them to learn their trade.
Similarly, there is no point having the best players in Kenya spread over several division where they do not get to play each other regularly and also cultivate complacency by playing against much weaker players. CK need to bring the top players together in a competition so they feed off each other and improve their skills. We have been promised such a competition now for two years, but have not seen it. If Kenya continued to do well internationally, this would continue to slip past, but we are not. We have some very talented players and it is a dis-service to them and to the fans of the sport that there is not a system that helps them reach their full potential.
Patience is beginning to run thin.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Unfortunately they came up against a Namibian team that had got better with each match of the tournament they played. Kenya did not exactly get worse, but they failed to build the momentum that the Namibians did and in the end that rather than any difference in talent was their undoing.
This is now the third time that Kenya has failed to qualify for the Under 19 world Cup and the countries administrators need to wake up and sort out the domestic situation in the country so our best players (at both senior and junior levels) play each other regularly. They also need to sort out the situation with schools cricket and make sure that it becomes the vibrant feeder to the club scene that it used to be. Unless this happens, and happens soon, Kenya are going to not only slip further behind the Test teams, but we will be in danger of being overtaken by the chasing pack.
One thing that the tournament in Benoni showed was that (bar last placed Nigeria), all the associate and affiliate teams in Africa are on a marked improvement curve. This is because plain and simply, they are investing time and money in improving their youth set ups. I have said this before several times, and I say it again now - Kenya cannot afford to rest on her laurels. We must do everything in our power to promote the game at home and ensure that we not only stay ahead of the chasing pack, but stretch that lead.
Over to you Cricket Kenya.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I talk of course of the Kenyan Under 19 cricket team, who got their campaign off against Namibia today. I am posting results and write-ups on CricketEurope, so I won't repeat myself, but will send this thought: COME ON THE KENYA UNDER 19s!
Not for one moment am I saying forget our athletes - How good was it to see Luke Kibet cross the line to give Kenya the first Gold of the games by breaking such a long drought! While you are cheering them on however, spare a thought for our boys in Benoni. If they can win, it could usher in a whole new era for Kenyan cricket and how good would it be to have a Kenyan team sport on the rise again.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Kenya lost by 19 runs after the visitors elected to bat and made 109.
Unfortunately, despite having emailed several people in Kenya requesting information about the U19 qualifier preparations, this is the best I can get. It is gleaned from an article in the Nation where it received two lines at the bottom of a separate article.
These are our up and coming cricket stars. They will be carrying the banner for cricket in Kenya over the next ten years or so and they deserve better.
It constantly irritates me that there is still no means of promoting cricket to the public in Kenya. The press have to really dig to get scores/news and half the time these are treated as big secrets by officials. Cricket needs to be run as a business and to grow that business, the public need to be convinced it is a product worth investing in. How the hell is any business ever going to expand without publicity?
It really should not be a hard game to promote. Other sports in Kenya are currently suffering lack of support through mismanagement (with the exception of Rugby) and Kenyans are desperate for a sport they can follow and believe in. Worldwide cricket is a sport followed by millions.
Getting results and news out there costs nothing. An email to us at Cricket Europe would mean results can be accessed by anyone online the same day as us receiving the email. Both the RVCA and NPCA have used this to great effect over the last year. Again, I repeat, IT COSTS NOTHING. Yet it will give the public the opportunity to follow teams and players. It will mean that news about the goings on in the game spread. It will mean that the following grows and cricket becomes more attractive to sponsors. Yet it is not done. Kenya's players and the long suffering cricket followers deserve more.
This is not a new gripe. I set up this blog for the very reason it is hard to get information about Kenyan cricket. In the last year and a half, gains have been made but this is because other like minded individuals care enough about the game to want to do something. When will those governing the game start to treat it like a product they need to sell. Then, and only then are we actually going to see the game grow.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Well we got belted. No two ways about it,
What went wrong? For a start, our boys will never be able to compete in the First class arena against teams that play regular first class cricket unless we have some sort of a set up whereby our players get that same practice. At a basic level, most of our players looked as though they were trying to play one day cricket and just stretching it over multiple days. That will not work. First Class cricket is a different kettle of fish to limited overs cricket. It requires bowlers to work hard to get batsmen out and allows batsmen time in the middle to get settled without feeling they have to score off every shot. It is not something one can adapt to overnight, it takes practice and the team should not be criticised too harshly for not having had this practice. It is not their fault - they have to have a domestic multi-day competition if they are to improve at this format of the game.
Despite the score, positive points do come from the match. Most of the bowlers did eventually get a wicket or two, though
A painful defeat, but one that can be turned to positives. There is no doubting the talent of
Here's hoping match 2 is better for us!
Friday, July 20, 2007
A much more worrying rumour, and it has been confirmed by several independent (and reliable) witnesses is that the great Satan of Kenyan Cricket, Sharad Ghai, is trying to make a comeback. Apparently, he has patched up relationships with his former enemy, Sukhbans Singh, the embattled acting chairman of the NPCA. He has also been installed as one of Nairobi Gymkhana's representatives to the NPCA committee - perhaps if they spent more time concentrating on improving their team rather than politics, they would not have a record of played 2, lost 2 in the current NPCA league.
Hopefully sense will prevail in all of this. Everyone who knows anything about Kenyan cricket will know that the game cannot afford Ghai to return, in whatever capacity. They should also realise how far Cricket Kenya have come in resuscitating the game in the last 2 years. For the first time in a long while, there is hope again in the game. Please don't let petty politics get in the way of allowing the recovery to continue to its successful conclusion.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Official results will come out in the next day or so and I will make these available on CricketEurope Kenya as soon as I get them, but if anyone in Nairobi is able to send me ANY INFO at all in the meanwhile, that would be great.
No news yet either from the coast after the 'rules of engagement' were posted on their website last month. Emails to the CCA have met with a stony silence, so one can only hope things will/are going ahead as normal there.
As for the Cricket Kenya webpage, the less said the better. all it is doing so far is irritating those who are faithful enough to keep checking it. Hardly a way to build traffic.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Meanwhile at national level, we are also waiting for the delayed elections and for the players to come back to Cricket Kenya with their signed contracts (or if this has already happened for CK to tell us about it). Confirmation of the various A team tours should also be on its way to us soon, so at least there will be some cricket ahead for the national side before the Twenty-20 World Cup in September and Intercontinental Cup in October. Talk is also of a warm up quadrangular in Nairobi before the trip to South Africa, but again we must wait for confirmation from the national boards.
On the internet front, Cricket Kenya have once again tried to get a website up and running, but we are still waiting for it to be made even remotely up to date. So far, the front page still shows news from BEFORE the World Cup, and few of the buttons work. A web presence is all very well, but it needs to be kept up to date.
So we wait. At least cricket returns to the field in Nairobi this weekend, but as for the others, we can only hold our breath. Let's hope its not for too long...
Friday, June 15, 2007
Movement is also under way at the coast where the CCA have released the playing conditions and documents required by teams and players for the 2007/8 season. It is all very official looking with no real explanations, but it looks at first glance as though there will be an 80 over format played as well as the 50-over league and knockout tournaments. Great to see that the CCA at least are trying to give their players at least a slightly longer format of the game. Perhaps this is to get their players used to bowling longer spells and building innings for when the national comp finally kicks off. I hope I am not being too optimistic, but what chance that the NPCA will follow suit?
Hopefully this season, we will be able to improve our coverage, but this requires feedback from the players and clubs. If you are involved with cricket in Kenya, I urge you to get in touch so that we can get news and results out there quickly and accurately.
In a separate development, Cricket Kenya are making a second attempt at getting their website up and going. Hopefully, it will work out better than the last one! So far, it is still very out of date and very much 'under construction' with most of the links either blank or not working. I have never the less put the link to it back on the side bar so people can log in and check its progress.
They have a section for domestic results, so I can only pray that they are actually going to keep this updated and not let the goat anywhere near it.
Let us know your thoughts.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
It preserves the sanctity of Test cricket by ensuring that only teams good enough get to play it, and in the structure of the International game, this is necessary to keep the purists and traditional cricket lovers happy. It gives the top associates a chance to prove themselves against Zimbabwe - a side with Test experience and a longer history in multi-day cricket that any of the Associates.
It also allows countries like England, Australia and New Zealand the opportunity to sidestep the political ramifications of playing Zimbabwe and handing that moral dilemma down to teams such as Scotland and Ireland, but that is an argument to be left for another day.
At a pure cricketing level, this measure (if adopted by the executive) will mean that once they prove themselves good enough, Zimbabwe can step back up to Test cricket. What it does not do is provide a similar chance for an Associate team to make that same step. This should have been the perfect opportunity for the ICC to put in place a system whereby the most deserving team could earn itself a Test spot, instead they let the ball slip through their fingers.
Had they wanted to show they are serious about expanding the game, the ICC should have said that the winner of the 2007/8 Intercontinental Cup will be promoted to Test cricket for a period of 2 years - the period of the next Intercontinental Cup. At the end of that time, the lowest ranked Test side would then host a series against the new winner of the Intercontinental Cup with the winner retaining Test status for another two years, and so on.
This would in effect mean that the top 11 cricket playing nations would always be the ones playing Test cricket. No dilution would occur to the records and the high standards of Test cricket would have been safeguarded. For Associates, it would provide that final bridge to top flight cricket. It would provide an incentive for players from the Associates to stay with their countries rather than defecting to England and would significantly raise the stakes of the Intercontinental Cup making it more attractive to sponsors and hence providing increased funds for cricket growth on a global scale. In an ideal follow on, there would then be a third division introduced for the next tier of nations with a similar a promotion/relegation system. It is high time that performances on the pitch were allowed to determine who gets to play Test cricket rather than old-fashioned prejudice and politics. The ICC say they want to continue expanding the game. This is the perfect opportunity for them to actually deliver on that rather than offering empty promises.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Kenyan cricket is at a cross roads. We continue to do well at a senior One Day level, but have not been so successful at either junior level, or at multi day cricket at the senior level. It is not rocket science as to why. For a cricket player to improve, they need to play regularly against decent opposition. Currently, Kenya has no domestic structure that allows for our top players at any age level to play each other enough. The NPCA leagues are the best in the country, but our best players are split between three divisions and the format is only limited overs.
Cricket Kenya have said since they got in that they will address this, but I am sure that I am not alone in wondering when it will actually happen. There was a national tournament mooted for late last year/early this year, but rains and the WCL scuppered that plan. So far, there seems to be no news on when it will happen, and this is a major worry.
Looking at the situation in Kenyan cricket, I have come up with my own idea on how things could be addressed, but first there are a few facts that need to be established:
- Cricket in Kenya is currently played almost exclusively on Sundays.
- Due to weather and Christmas, there are two windows in the year when cricket can be played: June to November and January to early March. A total of 8 months.
- The core of cricket in Kenya is the regional tournaments run by NPCA, CCA and RVCA.
Because of the importance of the current club structure, my model would try to leave as much of the June-November window free for club cricket as possible. This is after all the grass roots of the game and must be protected.
Assuming 4 weekends in January and February are available and 2 in March, some inroads to November and possibly October would be needed for a national competition.
Though the aim of this model is to introduce multi-day cricket to the players, it also aims to give the top players practice against each other at both One Day and 20-20 level as well. Thus a league system would be set up with each team playing the others in the following:
1 x 2-day game (Sat & Sun)
1 x 50-overs (One Day) game (Sun)
1x 20-20 game. (Sat afternoon)
Host teams would alternate on a yearly basis with a team hosting the 2-day game one year and the one-day and 20-20 the next.
To achieve this, the following time frames would be needed:
1st innings lead: 6 points.
Outright win: 16 points.
Draw: 6 points each
Bonus batting points at 150, 200, 250 and 300 runs per innings (4 max per innings)
Bonus fielding points at: 3wkts, 6 wkts, 8 wkts and 10 wkts per innings (4 max per innings)
Total available points: 38
1 Day Game:
Outright win: 16 points
Bonus batting and fielding points as above.
Total points available: 24
Outright win: 10 points
bonus batting points at: 125, 175, 225, 250 (max 4)
bonus bowling points at; 3, 6, 8, 10 wickets (max 4)
total points available: 18
These may well need to be re-jigged, but give a basic starting point.
In terms of which teams should be included, I have worked on both the current relative strengths of the regions, future potential, youth growth and regional promotion. I believe the following table gives the best guide to how such a competition should be set up:
|# of teams||NPCA||CCA||RVCA||Western||Ken U19||Uganda||Tanzania|
As of April 2007, RVCA considered themselves too weak to compete in such a competition. Realistically however, they are unlikely to be much worse than the CCA and if bolstered by U19 players, they would almost certainly hold their own. As yet, Western hardly exist, but there is immense potential that needs to be encouraged there.
Any of the top 3 options could be implemented immediately with the others being introduced as development in regions such as Western Kenya and Rift Valley start to produce more and better players. Note that the division of players in shared teams would be discretionary and left up to the selecting committee of such teams with guidelines on a minimum number of players from each area.
Note also that the current U19 team are almost all from the NPCA, so until other regions improved to contribute more players, this would in affect give NPCA 3 teams in the competition.
The inclusion of Uganda and Tanzania would obviously depend on their boards and their willingness to participate. Benefits of their inclusion would mean the tournament would be more appealing to sponsors and it would help raise the level of cricket in the region. The make up of the teams would be left up to the boards and, as they get stronger, there would be no reason why these could not be development teams rather than full squads - similar to the team Kenya sent to the Logan Cup. Uganda may well already be at this stage, Tanzania probably not quite yet.
This is the crux on which such a competition would rest.
I believe the best system would be for a major sponsor to cover the tournament as a whole and then each team be separately sponsored as a franchise. There would have to be a limit on professional players from overseas - I'd suggest 1 per squad, and there would have to be a salary cap. However, I believe it would be a good idea to allow, and indeed encourage, sponsors to spend as much as they wanted in developing the game in their feeder clubs/area.
Money from the event sponsor would need to be allocated to provide regular feed to the media. Ideally this would include full write ups and scorecards in print media as well as highlights packages on TV and radio. This would help grow the supporter base for each team and in time could be expanded to include some live coverage as well.
Sponsorship dollars would also be needed to carry out an aggressive marketing campaign using the top players from each team and incentives such as luck gate prizes and 'catch a six and win' promotions. Initially, fans (especially those who know little or nothing about cricket) will need to be 'bribed' to attend matches. Use of music and entertainment between over/wickets and innings also needs to be looked at, especially in the one day and 20-20 matches. With other spectator sports in the country really suffering, this is an ideal time to promote the game, but as I said, people will initially need other incentives than just the cricket . In time this will change as new people learn about and get hooked on the game and teams will begin to build solid fan bases. It is this goal that must be kept in mind.
The Associates are constantly whining about not getting matches against the top teams, but we also need to start with some decent self-governance. Here's hoping Cricket Kenya follows something along these lines and soon!
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Note that i have not included averages or strike rate as full bowling details fromthe Northern match were not available, so only the wickets taken in that match were included.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Ireland have now not only joined us on that table, but after getting through to the Super 8s have actually overtaken us. not only that, but they are currently in the process of dishing out a thrashing to Canada on their way to retaining the Intercontinental Cup. This is an event that Kenya should have intentions of winning ourselves, but we were knocked out after finishing third to Canada and The Netherlands in our group.
A Kenya Select side have just returned from a month long tour of Zimbabwe, easily the weakest of the Test nations (and even that is a tenuous position). Having played 5 games, 4 against provincial sides in the Logan Cup, the team returned home winless. It is true that this was in essence a learning trip, one designed to give our younger players experience at First Class cricket (something which it seems to have succeeded at as the standards improved throughout the tour), but none the less, the results highlight the difference in standards between the two countries.
Later this year, Kenya Under19s travel to South Africa to take part in the qualifiers for the Under 19 World Cup and in April 2009, the national team travel to the UAE to contest a place in the 2011 World Cup. Both these are events that Kenya needs to qualify from and both are events that will see other nations doing their utmost to knock us out.
In the Under 19 qualifiers, Uganda have already knocked Kenya out in the past and with a stronger youth system than we have, will have their sights set on doing this a second time. Only one team is due to go through from the region, so qualification will be even harder this time around. Cricket Kenya and the NPCA have done well in starting preparations much earlier than last time, but it it high time a junior structure was put in place that enabled our best young players to play against each other on a regular basis. Only then will we be able to go into such tournaments with confidence.
2009 is a much more serious threat. there are plenty of countries, like neighbors Uganda, who are rapidly developing better internal structures than Kenya to develop talent and bring it through. Kenya cannot afford to rest on our laurels and expect that our position is set in stone. It is not, and unless we do something to change it, we are going to find it harder and harder to stay ahead of the chasing pack. Here's hoping to hear some good news on this front soon!
Friday, April 20, 2007
In the mean time, all the best to the boys for their tour to Zim. Here's hoping it is successful both in terms of results, but more importantly in terms of helping the players improve their games. That is after all what this tour is all about from a Kenyan perspective.
I will do my best to keep up to date with the scores on cricketEurope Kenya, but zimcricketnews is also a good place to check for scores from the tournament.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Some of these were things that are to be expected when an Associate team plays a Full member, but there were several where we were our own worst enemy. For Kenya to beat a Test team, we need them to play below themselves and we need to play above ourselves. Unfortunately, against New Zealand, the opposite happened. The Kiwis were on fire and we were ordinary.
In the fielding, a discipline that Kenya are normally strong in, there was a definite slackness. Several misfields allowed extra runs to be taken and catches were put down as well. True, they were not all easy, but in international cricket if a player gets his hand to a ball in the air, it is deemed a chance. The adage 'catches win matches' did not spring up for no reason and had they been held, New Zealand would have scored considerably less runs.
Our bowlers, who had been so sharp and accurate against Canada, found it difficult to keep to a line and length that troubled the opposition. Thomas Odoyo is perhaps the exception here, especially his first spell which had the opposition openers in no small trouble. On the whole though, New Zealand's job was made easier by bowling that strayed off the line and often pitched too short allowing the big pull shots. New Zealand hit 12 sixes of which at least half would not have been possible had the bowling been a fuller length. Bowling short to Test quality batsmen who are used to facing real express bowlers is asking for trouble. Kenya's strengths in bowling are the accuracy of our bowlers, not our speed and we need to play to those strengths. If we can get it right, and we showed we can against Canada and if the fielders back it up as again we have seen them do before, there is no reason we cannot frustrate the opposition into mistakes.
Extras are another thing we have to cut out. The bowler's must keep their front foot behind the line and have to refrain from sprays down leg. Ouma behind the stumps also needs to brush up on his glove work, but to be fair, should not have to expect the ball in that area. 26 wides and no balls is simply way too many against any side, and a Full member is going to tear you apart if you give them that many free runs. Not to mention the extra balls new Zealand got to face.
Batting also was a worry. Not so much how we handled the extra pace - that is something only experience can help with, but how we ran between the wickets and gave them away. Maurice Ouma's stroll down the wicket for an easy single was plain and simply, lazy cricket. From a school level one of the things a cricketer is taught is to run the first single hard. It doesn't matter if there seems to be plenty of time or not. Firstly, there is always the possibility of a second if there is a fumble, but more importantly, while you are out of your crease, you are in danger. At international level, there are so many top fielder who can throw down the stumps from almost anywhere on the park, it is criminal to give them that chance unless it is in the dying overs and quick singles are at a premium.
Collins Obuya's run out was again poor cricket. Running as a pair requires communication and calling between the batsmen. This did not happen, and a partnership that looked as though it could be quite fruitful came to a needless end. Lameck Onyango was found guilty by the same method as Ouma, and several others were nearly caught out this way as well. At the top level, batsmen need to be as sharp as the fielder, otherwise they will be run out. Chasing a large total against better bowling was always going to be hard. Losing unnecessary wickets made it an impossibility. This must be sorted out before Saturday and England.
Tirade over, there were some bright spots. Odoyo bowled well for the most part and should be congratulated on his 100th ODI wicket. He is now the first player outside the Test teams to have 100 wickets and 1500 runs. Tanmay Mishra fielded well as usual. He did drop the one catch, but it would have been a blinder had he held it, and on the whole looked sharp. Collins Obuya's attitude both fielding and batting was aggressive and we need that if we are to cause an upset. Ravindu shah rode his kuck a bit, but that is what cricket is about, and he played some fantastic shots for his second highest score in ODIs - he also passed the mini-milestone of 1500 runs. If the rest of the batsmen can build around him, there is the possibility of a decent score against any team.
all in all, it was a disappointing performance, but as Steve Tikolo himself acknowledges, the team know they can do better. Do they have a chance of an upset against England? It depends which Kenya turn up on the day. If it is the team that played Canada, I believe we could give anyone trouble. If it the team that played New Zealand, we would struggle against the Associates even. Let's hope the yips are out of the way and it the team play to their potential.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
First Bangladesh beat India by 5 wickets, then the Irish proved that dreams can come true and gave their fans a real St. Patrick's day present by booting Pakistan out of the competition. Does anyone anywhere need any more proof that expanding the game is a worthwhile cause? Can anyone still say that the lower ranked teams do not deserve to be at the World Cup?
What a great day for cricket this is. To Ireland and Bangladesh: Congratulations, you have just raised the hopes of all players everywhere in the World outside the Test nations that with the right commitment, training and a bit of luck, any team can become good enough to not just play in a World Cup, but compete against the best there too.
To Matthew Engel, Michael Holding and Ricky Ponting (despite changing his tune just recently) and all the other idiots who said that the Associates do not deserve their status and places at the World Cup. To all those who have made derogatory comments about the standard of Associate cricket, who have made cheap jibes without doing their research. To all the disbelievers and stuffy traditionalists who would keep the game away from the rest of the World: Congratulations to you too. You are now the new joint holders of the Mbuni Award - so much EGG ON FACE, can only come from the biggest bird there is. Lap it up boys, lap it up! And while you are doing so get used to our presence. The Associates are here to stay!
Friday, March 16, 2007
Sunday, March 11, 2007
In both matches, Kenya scored in the region of 250 - a score seen by many as par for many of the new pitches in the West Indies. This is a very positive sign for Steve Tikolo's men as it shows that the batting is continuing to improve and importantly that players are finding form and building partnerships. In the 2 warm up games, the following batsmen have made decent scores:
Shah (41 v WI)
Tikolo (34 & 51)
Collins Obuya (54* & 33)
Suji (47 v NED)
Odoyo (73 v NED)
Basically, the middle order look like they are doing their job well, especially the combination of Odoyo and Obuya (and to a lesser extent Suji and Kamande) in the final overs.
A slight worry is still the opening pair. They did fantastically well in Nairobi and were a big reason that Kenya was able to win the WCL, but Ouma (10 & 4) and David Obuya (7 & 13) have not had great warm up games. They have both proved to themselves and everyone else in the past few months that they are capable of making decent scores and if Kenya are to cause an upset, they must rise to the occasion and provide the middle order with a decent platform.
Tanmay Mishra (22 & 4) has also not been his reliable self, but is of a class where he should be able to step up once the Cup proper starts. He scored a match winning 62 against the Canadians in Nairobi during the WCL, so can hopefully repeat that performance or go better when the teams face off in a couple of days time.
With the runs given to Malhar Patel and Tony Suji, it has looked as though the team have experimented with slotting in an extra batsman at number 4 and moving the rest down one which is interesting. So far, the batting has looked fairly solid, but we have on both occasions failed to bowl the opposition out. Bringing in Suji - he performed best out of the two, will be at the expense of a bowler and is this something Kenya can afford?
Leaving out Suji and the bowler for the moment, the team looks like this:
There will need to be a third seamer which will be between Odhiambo (the most likely on performances in the warm ups), Onyango (who has been expensive) and Bhudia (who has not bowled enough to suggest he is likely to play).
If we assume Odhiambo gets the nod - he also gives the option of a quick scoring bat, the battle for the final place is then between Suji - a batsman and Kamande - a spinning all-rounder.
This is a tricky decision. Suji has played well with the two chances he has been given making 16* batting at 9 against the Windies and 47 batting at 4 against the Dutch. Kamande has only had the one chance with the bat - a quickfire unbeaten 19 against the Dutch. Bowling wise, he went for 6 an over against the Netherlands, so one would initially think Suji would get the nod going purely on his batting form. This would however leave Kenya with only 5 bowlers, and against good batting sides, this is a big gamble. It means that there is no one Tikolo can turn to if one of them is getting a belting, a definite possibility with the likes of Pietersen and Taylor looming.
Importantly, Kamande is a spinner and there are two reasons why this is in his favour. First, the pitches in the West Indies seem to be holding up to expectations and taking spin well. Going into a game with three spinners capable of stifling runs and taking wickets would give Kenya an edge over the other teams in their group. Second, Tikolo is a great marshal of spin bowling. Possibly because he is a spinner himself, he seems able to really get the most out of the middle overs when Kenya need to slow the run rate and frustrate the opposition. This has been one of the team's strong points over the last 12 months and it would be wise to take advantage of it.
Finally, there is the fielding aspect. Kamande has always been a great fielder and his athleticism in the final of the WCL contributed a great deal to Scotland's uncertainly in the middle. The Obuya brother may have got the run outs then, but it was Kamande who put the pressure on with several great stops and two direct hits - one from square on. His presence in the field can only benefit the rest of the team just as Jonty Rhodes did for South Africa and Symonds does for Australia. For once, Kenya are faced with a selection decision based on good performances. It will be tough for Suji to miss out, but on balance maybe this is Kamande's turn.
Hopefully Kenya's bowlers will be able to do what they failed to do in the two warm up games and take regular and early wickets to put pressure on the opposition. Odoyo has looked in good touch so far and will be key. A couple of early breakthroughs from him will allow Ongondo to tighten the screws at the other end. It will then be up to the spinners to keep the lid on. Things are coming together at just about the right time for Kenya and if they should be happy with the preparations. There are just one or two final things to be worked on, but if the team all play to the potential they have shown, this could be a very exciting couple of weeks indeed for Kenyan cricket.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
On the batting front, some concern still at the top of the order, but good to see both Shah and the skipper coming back into form. A shame no one really turned their start into a big score - Samuels was the difference between the two teams there. Good show from the middle order with an unbeaten half century from Collins Obuya (again proving he can do it against top opposition).
All in all, a respectable showing and certainly one that should give hope for the tournament ahead. A few glitches still to be sorted out, but on the whole the team look to get better each time they play. One more warm up against the Dutch to go, then the must win game against Canada to start the World Cup. Exciting times!
Friday, March 02, 2007
The Cricket World Cup will soon be starting - and the BBC are looking for cricket fans with to appear live on BBC World TV during the tournament.
To take part, you'll need to have a passionate opinion about cricket and the impact of the World Cup in your country.
You'll also need to have a PC, a webcam and a reliable broadband connection.
We want to hear your views on the events in the
My Cricket World Cup will be broadcast live on BBC World TV during March and April.
Each show will feature panels of ordinary people from all around the globe talking live on TV using webcams. We'll be discussing a wide range of issues - not just the cricket itself, but the impact of the Cricket World Cup around the world.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
This does not mean there has been a lack of things to comment on in Kenyan cricket:
Last week, Kanbis showed that once again they are going to be the team to beat in the NPCA tournament. They earlier secured their longterm future by completing a deal with Eastleigh Secondary School whereby they will revamp the school's abandoned soccer pitch and thereby ensure that nothing but cricket gets played on the cricket oval, as well as working towards setting up a cricket academy within the school. Last weekend both A and B teams registered big wins in their first games of the 20-20 competition - with 2 teams performing so well, there has to be a case for them to perhaps enter 3rd and 4th string sides into the lower divisions as well. Where they lead, others will be forced to follow if they hope to break the Kanbis dominance. One thing however is that the Vortex Goat seems to reside just outside their ground eating their communications as well as Mama Mweni's lingerie from the washing line. Anyone with any contacts at Kanbis please get them to return my emails. A full roundup of last week's NPCA matches and RVCA's Woolmatt Cup game can be found here on CricketEurope - Kenya.
All credit to Tanmay Mishra for his second placing in the Most Promising category of the Sports Personality of the year. Hopefully the whole team will be able to back up their 2003 effort and win this award again next year!
Not only is the Goat disrupting transmissions from Nairobi, but seems to have firmly established a second fiefdom in Mombasa. Maybe it is the upcoming World Cross Country Champs that attract it with the horde of journalist that can feed it, or maybe it is the added salt in the Sukuma, but once again it is getting in the way of cricket news from the CCA. For all that comes out of there in terms of results, one would think cricket in the area is dead, gone, no more. Someone please prove otherwise. It does not look good that the home region of the Cricket Kenya Chairman is so quiet. Time for Mbuzi Choma Coast-Style?
As for Michael Holding's comments? REMEMBER PUNE 1996! Maybe we should send the goat over to Jamaica to give him a butt up the butt - or is it a case of Mbuzi kabisa siwezi kumbuka!
Apologies to all fluent Kiswahili speakers for mangling their beautiful language.