Friday, August 10, 2007

Poor Publicity

Kenya's U19 team played a match yesterday against a visiting Academy side from Western cape in south Africa. The match was part of our preparations for the Africa zone qualifiers for next year's Under 19 World Cup in Malaysia.

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

Humble Pie

Well we got belted. No two ways about it, India A proved superior with both bat and ball and the final loss margin: an innings and 98 runs is painful enough reading in itself.

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 India A never looked in too much bother. Not having two of our strongest bowlers in Odoyo and Tikolo certainly made a difference, but the rest need to learn to cope on their own and I feel they are slowly improving. Batting wise, there was a marked improvement between the innings and if they can improve by the same margin again before the next match, we should at the least be competitive. Credit to Collins Obuya for his half century and to Mishra and David Obuya who at least got starts in both innings. Hopefully next match more will do that and more starts will be converted into big scores. India really only had two batsmen that really dominated, but they were able to completely wrest the game away. That in itself should be a lesson.

A painful defeat, but one that can be turned to positives. There is no doubting the talent of Kenya's players; they just need the application to turn that talent into results on the pitch.

Here's hoping match 2 is better for us!