‘2020: The year Kenya’s cricket finally died’

Monday, December 21st, 2020 00:00 |
Jasraj Kundi, captain Sikh Union bats in a T20 Nairobi Invitational Cricket League match against Ruaraka at the Sikh Union grounds yesterday on March 1, 2020.

Barry Silah @obel_barry

Aside from the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, cricket in Kenya suffered heavily in the hands of egotism manifesting itself in courtroom battles which all but ensured nothing concrete happened this year.

With a divided board whose term ended in May, a constitution that has yet to be agreed upon due to vested interests and an elections stalemate, analysts are predicting tougher times ahead for the once glorious sport. 

It has, indeed, been a year of off-pitch drama that has been unrelenting to the point where players have suffered with some opting to try foreign leagues to earn a living and maintain fitness.

Just before Covid-19 was reported, two warring sides had gone to court seeking control of the sport, a move that has left many in limbo.

As it stands, since mid-last year, no active engagement for both men’s and ladies national teams has been forthcoming including build-ups.This means even tournaments of high stature cannot see Kenyan players invited due to lack of playing time. 

Some individuals and clubs have been organising just small get-together tournaments post-Covid but this has not benefited most. 

The warring sides were advised to seek legal redress internally through their Appeals Committee or alternatively head to the Sports Disputes Tribunal. However, with nobody willing to go low in demands, now a possible new warfront looms with the New Year.

The bone of contention is that some former players have teamed up to ensure inclusivity which they say has been lacking. Former chairperson Jackie Janmohammed has faced a lot of backlash with many complaining that she still holds influence on matters at Cricket Kenya despite being unpopular. 

This started the back and forth of blame games and now ex-legends like Aasif Karim, Kennedy Obuya and Edward Odumbe are calling for change at Cricket Kenya.

At the same time, clubs and counties have been idle and there are no development projects to talk about. Cricket Kenya has overlooked existing projects, even the solid ones run by former Kenya internationals Peter Ong’ondo and Jimmy Kamande in Nakuru and Mombasa County.  

Critics also tore into the Junior Development Programme as a cash cow that was not necessarily delivering results. 

As the year folds, all eyes will be on the national teams and their preparations for ICC tournaments. The men especially have fallen off pace and are now relegated to Division Three, far down from the test playing nation were once were. 

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