Monday, June 21, 2010

Unacceptable behaviour

Kenya cricket once again takes a major step backwards. There should be no place in a struggling sport for blackmail, yet this is exactly what the recent actions of the 4 'player representatives' amounts to. Because of this short sighted and ill-timed action, the Kenya team lose not only the chance to warm up properly before an absolutely crucial world Cup qualifier series but also many of the few fans they have. This action shows total disrespect not only to Cricket Kenya who are after all mandated to run the sport but to those fans and well sishers who have gone to so much trouble to accomodate the team.

In regards to money - Kenya cricketers are already well paid. According to cricinfo, the monthly salary of the players ranges from $800 to $1500 per month. I bet there are plenty of other team sports in Kenya who would be very gratelful for that reimbursement. Then there is the factor of what pay is deserved for what performance. So far the team have failed to qualify for 2 consecutive 20-20 World Cups, scraped through the 50 over qualifier and are by no means assured of getting a decent result in the coming event. Results on the field have been patchy at best and certainly would not justify a raise in any other profession.

Then there is the cost of this action. Financially, Cricket Kenya lose $40-$50 000 that was due to paid in airfares, accomodation etc. Goodwill towards the team from benefactors such as Friends of Kenya Cricket must have all but evaporated - something that will have ramifications on future tours and fund raising initiatives. Credebility of Kenya on the international stage has been further tarnished and that will just discourage other, especially Test nations, from playing us. Such fixtures are where the team gets its pay and experience.

I have proposed before that a proper Players Association be formed. This has not been done and therefore it must be noted that the current 'representatives' can not justifiably claim to represent Kenya's players as a whole. Do they even represent all the current squad? Forming such an Association must be done as a matter of utmost urgency, if only to avoid debacles such as this in the future.

Finally a thought about who this action was meant to benefit. Not the majority of players in the country: there is only a fixed budget available to cricket Kenya and the more that is paid to an elite few, deserving or not, the less that is left for development and improving the situation for the majority. It is tough enough supporting Kenya in cricket with the results on the field, behaviour like this makes one wonder if it is really worth it at all...

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