Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Despite the ICC's recent decision to strip Kenya of hosting rights to the 2010 Under 19 World Cup, Cricket Kenya has confirmed that the upgrade work to the grounds around the country will continue as planned. In an email to Kenya Cricket.com, Samir Inamdar (right) the Chairman of Cricket Kenya stated that:
"The grounds improvement programme across the country will continue unabated. This is important because we would like to see our infrastructure at clubs improve for the game to benefit"
Writing from London where he is conducting meetings related to formulating Cricket Kenya's formal response, Mr Inamdar also said that Cricket Kenya
"will be claiming our money spent in good faith to get our venues in order from the ICC"
"The ICC's Chief Executives Committee has determined that in the event Canada (who are due to host this event in 2012) concede that they cannot hold it, CK will get the first opportunity to secure these rights."
It is good to hear from Cricket Kenya on this and especially that the upgrading of the grounds will continue. Even without hosting the U19 World Cup, this will at least benefit players in all three hubs who will get to play more games on higher quality pitches which can only improve the quality of Kenya's game overall.
It is also heartening to see Cricket Kenya gearing up for a fight to recoup some of their losses from the ICC. Given how the ICC has been forthcoming in reimbursing Test nations in similar situations, there is at least some hope that this will have a successful outcome.
That Kenya gets first bite at the cherry should Canada not be ready is bitter-sweet and at first glance smacks of the divide and rule mentality employed by the old British Empire. For Kenya to gain from this, another Associate must fail and that is something one would hate so see happen, even if it did benefit Kenya. There is also no guarantee that just because Kenya are to be given first opportunity to secure the rights that this will in fact happen. Going on recent events, it does not look about whether a country is capable of hosting, but capable of generating the ICC higher revenue. If for example, India decided they wanted to host, I wonder how long Kenya's application would even sit in the consideration tray.
Lastly, there is no word yet on the fate of Kenya's U19 team. This situation is not just about money, it is also about players. That they were sent under strength and under prepared to the regional qualifiers can only be blamed on Cricket Kenya, but for the team to finish so low also rests to an extent on the shoulders of the players selected. That said, they were using the event as a practice tournament. Should they not at least be given the opportunity to travel to the next stage of qualifying as an extra team and have a chance to fight to retain their spot on the playing field? If they fail again, there can be no excuses, but at least give them that chance rather than whisk the rug out from under their feet.
Photo from ICC files