Friday, September 14, 2007

The blame game

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!

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