Saturday, June 27, 2009

Anger over ICC decision to move U19 World Cup

Anger is simmering in Kenya and around the cricket world over the ICC's stunning decision to move the Under 19 Cricket World Cup away from Kenya citing '8 months as inadequate time to prepare'.

Here is what Topspinner - a regular reader and well respected journalist had to say:

Is this political, or what? With the ICC having ruled out the UAE for the World Cup and now Kenya for the Under-19s (NZ to be the replacement) - together with the recent treatment of Namibia - it seems the ICC has really got its knife into the Associate members. I thought their remit was to bring the game on in developing countries, not consign it to the 'bin'. Gilchrist wants the game for the Olympics. What is the IOC to make of the ICC's backward-looking way of going forward. Kenya may not have much of an Under-19 team at present, but I pity those who've put in lots of hard work in Mombasa and, more particularly, Nakuru, scene of some of the horrid clashes last year which cricket was trying to pacify. Or maybe that's what it's to do with? That's short-sighted, whatever the reasoning...
'Topspinner' - incensed and beside himself with anger.

Comments from Kenyan players on facebook also reflect disgust and disbelief:

"Icc thats unfair....wat preparation..?"

"Oh something..icc datz 2 much..."

"ICC Moved u19 world cup Big blow to kenyan youngstars"

"It z big blw to th entire houz. Its kenya not kenyan youngstars"

"what a shocking decisin from the icc umpiers kenya is not out yet, we will appeal........!!!!!"

"i wonder what develooment is all about if ICC can stand out and acuse Kenya of not being prepared and yet they are the onses who are doing nothing to make Kenya prepared. As it has been the case before cricket will remain in the hands of ICC big boys and countries like Kenya will continue to loos out. Eight months are too many to prepare. SAD SAD SAD."

to mention a few.

What are your thoughts - is this a 'just' decision or is it yet another example of the ICC's complete disregard for the welfare of Associates.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Kenya no longer to host U19 world Cup

In a bombshell to Kenyan cricket delivered at the ICC board meeting, it has been decided that Kenya is now deemed unfit to host the 2010 Under 19 World Cup.

According to an ICC press release:

The Board received a report on the readiness of Kenya to host the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup 2010.

It concluded that with only eight months to go before the event, which Cricket Kenya was awarded in 2006, it was unrealistic to expect Kenya to be ready to host given the large amount of work still needing to be done, despite some grounds such as the Mombasa Sports Ground (above) already better than several ODI pitches elsewhere in the World - this photo was taken on june 18th 2009. courtesy CCA webpage.

It was agreed that New Zealand would be the location for the tournament, subject to the agreement of satisfactory terms.

ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat said: “We have been working with Kenya to monitor their progress towards staging the ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup for some time, with visits to the locations earmarked for matches and regular reports to the ICC Board.

“Regrettably, the conclusion reached was that the amount of work still to be done to get many of the venues ready was such that retaining Kenya as a host represented too great a risk to the successful staging of the event.

“It is a difficult conclusion to have reached and a regrettable one from the perspectives of both the ICC and Cricket Kenya, but with just eight months to go before the scheduled start, we could not proceed on the basis of hoping that everything would be ready next February.

“The ICC U/19 Cricket World Cup is the highest profile event in the ICC’s development calendar. Coverage of the matches is broadcast all around the world and it is a recognised stepping stone for players to graduate to full international level.

“By way of examples, since the latest edition of the tournament, in Malaysia in February/March last year, India’s Virat Kohli, Wayne Parnell of South Africa and New Zealand’s Tim Southee have all gone on to play for their countries.

“We hope Kenya will be able to stage ICC events in the future and we are grateful to New Zealand Cricket for its offer to stage the tournament. It did so successfully in 2002 and we look forward to it doing so again in 2010.”

This is an absolute disaster for Kenyan cricket and also seems like pretty harsh treatment from the ICC. Eight months is hardly the "short" period of time they seem to think. Stadia for Olympics have been rushed to completion in less time, it is hardly as though Kenya could not get pitches and facilities organised in this time. What is especially puzzling is that when the ICC last inspected the preparations, they expressed themselves happy with how things were going. There was no indication they were unhappy, certainly no indication that they were so disappointed that the venue would have to be changed.

Ramifications for Kenya from this are massive and devastating. Cricket Kenya has invested millions of shillings in upgrading the facilities, which while it will benefit club level domestic cricket in the country could have gone far further in establishing and promoting the game at the grass roots level which is where the most pressing work needs to be done. Whether the ICC will be willing to assist Cricket Kenya in recovering from this remains to be seen, but given their shortsightedness and desire for money it is unlikely.

Kenya sent an understrength team to the regional qualifiers based on the fact that as they had already qualified, it would be better to let some less experienced players get a taste of experience and allow some of the more senior players to study for their exams. Or so it was claimed by Cricket Kenya after the teams sorry performance. This may now turn around to bite Kenya in the foot as again the ICC has not made it clear whether losing their hosting rights also means Kenya will lose their automatic qualification. If it does, it will mean Kenya will have missed out on the last 3 Under 19 World Cups - a damning statistic in the light of the improving nations snapping at their heels.

For Cricket Kenya, it will also come as a massive blow as it is in effect a vote of no confidence from the highest echelons of the ICC. There is already criticism from several quarters at home that will quadruple in the light of the lack of faith now shown by the ICC. They will need to act fast and decisively if this is not going to sweep them away. The last thing Kenyan cricket needs is more infighting, but this is exactly what this decision will spawn.

Hopefully this is a decision that Cricket Kenya will appeal - and appeal they must, however unlikely it may seem that the ICC may change its mind. At the top of Cricket Kenya are some very savvy lawyers, this must now be the time for them to earn their keep. They could start with the question of if Kenya was a Test nation would this happen? Example: West Indies World Cup 2007. That was an organisational disaster right down to the final, but the Windies were never threatened with losing it, let alone 8 months out. As usual with the ICC treatment of Associates, this stinks and Cricket Kenya must do whatever they can to correct it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cricket Without Boundaries to return to Kenya

Great news from this blog's favourite charity. Cricket Without Boundaries is a charity that is "dedicated to helping, educating and developing local communities around the World through the spread and growth of cricket." In particular, they have made special efforts in Africa, and have already undertaken trips to Kenya, Rwand and Uganda in 2007 and 2008 (right).

October 2009 sees a return to Kenya where they last introduced the game to over 500 children in areas that would not otherwise be exposed to the game. 120 new coaches were also trained and awarded certificates to ensure that the work is continued in their abscence. For a full report of the 2008 trip see here. Kenya would like to wish all involved the very best and looks forward to hearing about the even more successful 2009 trip!

If you are able to support this fantastic initiative, you can follow the links via the facebook site to donate. All donations go straight to the charity and help to raise AIDS awareness through teaching disadvantaged children cricket.

photo taken from CWOB website

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Maurice Ouma is Kenya's new Captain

Cricket Kenya have today released the squad to travel to Ireland along with the new appointments for Captain and Vice Captain. In a move that was guessed at by only 2% of the readership of this blog, Kenya's new Captain will be Maurice Ouma (Right) with Jimmy Kamande acting as Vice Captain. It is a bold decision by Kenya's selectors and is certainly made with an eye on the future as both players are likely to be around for a long time yet.

There is only one change to the rest of the 15 man squad with Rajesh Bhudia making way for the in-form David Obuya to return to national colours. Ragheb Aga, who has been in fine wicket taking form and Peter Kituku are the two other players who could count themselves unlucky to have missed out. Aside from the captaincy, this is a squad that contains few surprises. David Obuya brings much needed depth to the batting while the recent form of Lameck Onyango (Ngoche) allows the selectors to sacrifice a bowler in order to do this. As announced earlier, Andy Kirsten will travel as coach for the Intercontinental Cup tie and the one day series which will consist of three games rather than two as initially thought.

Full squad:

1. Morris Ouma (Captain)
2. Jimmy Kamande (Vice Captain)
3. Kennedy Obuya
4. Alex Obanda
5. Steve Tikolo
6. Collins Obuya
7. Thomas Odoyo
8. Nehemiah Odhiambo
9. Lameck Ngoche
10. Peter Ongondo
11. Hiren Varaiya
12. Rakep Patel
13. Elijah Otieno
14. Seren Waters
15. David Obuya

Further comment to follow shortly.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Mutisya.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Still a day or so away...

Despite claims in the local press that the new Kenya Captain and squad were to be finalised on Sunday, Tom Tikolo, CEO of Cricket Kenya has informed Kenya via email that:

"The issue of captaincy and team to travel to Ireland will be sorted out in a day or so as all the procedures are in place.

The coach issue is still pending as we await advice from all parties concerned. Meanwhile Andy Kirsten will be going with the team to Ireland on temporary basis."

On the coach issue, this is no surprise at it was already known that Kirsten would continue to act as coach for the Ireland trip. For those waiting on selection and to hear regards the captaincy, this continues to increase the frustration. In terms of selection, it may well be that the selectors will now wait until after the next practice match, due to start today, before making their final decisions. If they had been originally planning on sending the same squad that travelled to South Africa for the World Cup qualifiers, this does make a kind of sense as at least two players not in that party, namely David Obuya and Peter Kituku, both gave indications that they should at least be under consideration for places.

So in the meanwhile, we continue to wait. At least there is the practice match and we will endeavour to bring you updates as they come through.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Current ODI ranking for current Kenyan players

Current ICC ODI Rankings for Kenya Players 21st June 2009
Today at 11:20pm
Players ranked in order of highest batting/bowling ranking:

(Player - rank - rating)

Peter Ongondo - 29th Bwl 579 (207th bat 228, 64= all rnd 132)
Thomas Odoyo - 52nd bwl 500 (83rd bat 435, 24th all rnd 218)
Steve Tikolo - 55th bat 508 (74th bwl 431, 23rd all rnd 219)
Hiren Varaiya - 59th bwl 473 (155th bat 280, 64= all rnd 132)
Alex Obanda - 78th bat 443
Jimmy Kamande - 87th bwl 401 (120th bat 349, 57th all rnd 140)
Collins Obuya - 97th bat 396 (118 bwl 303, 77th all rnd 120)
Nehemiah Odhiambo 109th bwl 330 (186 bat 240, 131 all rnd 79)
Maurice Ouma 117th bat 351
David Obuya 126th bat 330
Lameck Onyango 128 bwl 286 (151 bat 284, 170 all rnd 43)
Kennedy Otieno 130 bat 323
Seren Waters 159 bat 277
Rajesh Bhudia 173 bat 255 (178 bwl 203, 163 all rnd 52)
Elijah Otieno 208 bwl 173 (322 bat 107, 218 all rnd 19)
Rakep Patel 287 bwl 27 (328 bat 103, 275 all rnd 3)
NB Rageb Aga - not currently holding a ranking as last ODI in 2004

Overseas Roundup.

Seren Waters and Abeed Janmohamed have been at it again for the Weybridge Cricket Club this week. Playing against Guildford Cricket Club in the Premier Division of the Surrey Championship in the unusual format of 'timed' one day cricket, Waters picked up 4/86 with the ball off a marathon 22 overs, and once again backed it up with the bat contributing an aggressive 46. Janmohamed came in with team in trouble at 89/5, before contributing a fighting 52 not out. His efforts were in vain as Weybridge fell well short of the required target.

Ragheb Aga put in a solid allround performance himself for the Sussex 2nd XI this week in a One Day match against Hampshire 2nd XI. Aga blasted 23 off just 19 balls with the bat, before chipping in with 1/16 off 5 overs opening the bowling for Sussex 2nds.

Moses Otieno turning out for the Combined Services team, has been in good wicket taking form of late, including hauls of 4/39 against Cambridge University, 1/29 against Police and a 3 wicket haul against a touring side.

With the team touring Ireland to be announced today, it'll be interesting to see if any of these overseas players are included in the squad given their current form.

Is today the day?

Well according to an article in the Daily Nation it is. In the first mention of cricket in about a month the Nation has claimed that Cricket Kenya will announce the new Kenya Cricket Captain today (Sunday 21st June). No official word has actually been heard from Cricket Kenya themselves, but other sources tell me that the Captaincy interviews have been concluded and now we are just waiting on the selection comittee to make their final decision, so today does seem likely. With the team due to jet out for Ireland next Sunday, it is also likely that the travelling squad will be announced at the same time - though with the need get visas organised in advance, it may well be that this is already known to those travelling. It will be interesting to see whether the recent form in the practice game has altered any plans and if Kenya's overseas contingent (who have been in good form of late) will be included. If they are in the mix, it will be the first time for a good while that the selectors will really have to think hard about who is chosen and who will miss out. Here's hoping we see the strongest possible team to take on the Irish, we will need it.

We will endeavour to let you know as soon as we hear anything official on either team or captaincy.