That could have been us (Reflecting on Ireland and Afghanistan’s Test Status)


On March 30th 2003, Kenya’s men’s national cricket team stood on the cusp of greatness. They were one win away from becoming the first African team, and the first associate to qualify for an ICC World Cup Final. They lost  the game to eventual runners up India. Even so it was meant to be a new dawn for the game of cricket in Kenya, and possibly the East Africa region.

Kenya's lap of honur
Kenyan players take a lap of honour on that historic evening in 2003 (Source: espncricinfo)

14 years and 3 months down the line, and it is Ireland and Afghanistan’s whose own fairy tales have resulted in a happy ending. the ICC has just confirmed that the two nations will become the board’s 11th and 12th full members. Thus completing their rise to the pinnacle of the game (test status). They are the first additions to this core of elite cricketing nations since Bangladesh in 2000

Kenya on the other hand have not graced a major ICC event since 2011. They may not even qualify for the tournament by which they will be able to qualify for the 2019 World Cup. They are not even in the Intercontinental Cup, a league through which teams hoping to prove their readiness for test status play in.

Back in 2003, when Kenya was considered the ‘next sure thing,’ cricket in Ireland was pretty much run as an amateur pursuit, while in Afghanistan it was the preserve of returning exiles of the recently toppled Taliban regime.

While the game in Kenya fell into decline, in Ireland and Afghanistan cricket continues from strength. Whereas the exposure of their 2003 success led to internal division and strife in Kenya, for Ireland and Afghanistan, every upset and achievement seems to have galvanized the game back home.

Where Kenya’s bid for test status, and now even ability to qualify for world cups is hamstrung by a shallow player pool. As noted by Cricinfo:

The vote is not just an endorsement of each country’s respective on-field talents but a seal of approval for efforts made in recent years to build up their domestic structures. In the last three years, both countries have started a multi-day competition with each receiving first-class designation from the ICC in the last year, a harbinger of Thursday’s Full Member affirmation.

With the cycles for both the Intercontinental Cup and World Cup in 2019 already too far gone to be reset, it seems the next opportunity to hop on board the test nation train won’t come around till at least 2023. Plenty of time for us to get our act together. If we actually pull together and get serious about saving cricket in Kenya.

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‘Carry your Own Cross’ IOC tells Kenyan Runners on Doping


It turns out that the combined foot dragging, and last minute approach that Kenya’s government took to resolving the ADAK Bill was not without consequences after all. Kenya’s as yet ‘Non Compliant’ status withe the World Anti Doping Authority means that each and every, track and field competitor will have to be individually cleared by IAAF to participate in the summer Olympics.

More Hurdles in Kenyan Athlete’s path to Olympics (Source: Runblogrun)

In his own words IOC Chief Thomas Bach, while explaining conditions that Kenyan and Russian athletes will have to comply with to feature at the Olympics noted that

 “there were very serious doubts on the ‘presumption of innocence’ in those two countries (Kenya and Russia). Therefore, each athlete coming from these two countries will have to be declared eligible by their respective international federation following an individual procedure and evaluation of the situation. In this individual evaluation, tests from laboratories that are tainted or non-compliant cannot be taken into consideration. The respective international federation will have to take into account other reliable tests, that means international tests, or tests supervised by international authorities.”

That Kenya as a nation is very highly unlikely to be prohibited from competing at the Rio Olympics is a big relief, but the stringent conditions under which this will take place mean that Kenya’s medal hopefuls are not out of the woods yet. With regards to Kenya specific concerns the IOC supremo noted that

“In Kenya, there were administrative issues that are about to be resolved but on top of this we’ve had in the last couple of months a lack of funding and an absence of national testing. So Kenya is considered to be a country where the non-compliance affects the doping controls.”

With the ADAK bill, in its amended form passed after this announcement had been made, one hopes that what Kenya’s world beaters will only have to go through this grueling test of integrity once.

Qutes from IOC Chair sourced from : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/athletics/2016/06/21/russia-and-kenya-athletes-face-extra-drug-tests-ahead-of-rio-oly/

 

 

SuperSport giving Kenya Premier League a Raw Deal — kogalonation


Do Kenyans realize that SuperSport began sponsoring the Kenya Premier League in 2007? The initial sponsorship was to last four years and cost more than Kshs. 360m, or $5.5. Afterwards, the broadcast right holder promised to spend more than $11m on KPL, which was to be twice what it first offered. The new deal was […]

via SuperSport giving Kenya Premier League a Raw Deal — kogalonation

Kenya Stumble Down Under, Lose ground in Cricket World Cup Race


Say it with me slowly Rush-a-bhvar-dhan Nipun Patel. Quite the mouthful eh? The young left-hander (Rushab Patel for short) was also a handful for the Papua New Guinea bowlers, as he struck 95 runs in his International debut 50 overs debut. A knock that long term fans might say had shades of Hitesh Modi in his pomp.

Irfan Karim appeals during the PNG innings (Source: espncricinfo)

Unfortunately for Kenya his efforts came in a losing cause as Kenya slumped to a 2-0 loss to Papua New Guinea, in Port Moresby. Even more unfortunate was the way Kenya lost its last 5 wickets for 13 runs in a match that Kenya had put themselves in a relatively good position to win.

The final result, a 21 run win for Papua New Guinea, to go with a six wicket win in the first match, in which Irfan Karim’s 73 was a lone bright sport in Kenya’s brittle batting.

Even during the warm up matches against Northern Territory of Australia, Kenya’s batsmen struggled to put together multiple meaningful partnerships, and that came back to haunt them in the WCLC matches.

Kenya now sit in 5th place, 4 points adrift of Holland in the World Cricket League Championship Table, with the league approaching its half way stage.

Kenya next play Hong Kong (with the venue yet to be decided) in November of this year. Though nominally home games for Kenya, the security issues Kenya faces mean that they may have to play their games in a neutral venue.

Given that Hong Kong sit in second place, and therefore hold the second of two qualifying slots for the qualifying tournament of the 2019 World Cup in England, winning these matches will go a long way to keeping Kenya’s world cup qualifying hopes alive.

Was it all in Vain? Kenya’s ADAK Bill insufficient to escape WADA Sanctions


Over the month of April Kenya’s parliament (both the National Assembly and the Senate), the Ministry of Sports, and the Presidency burned the midnight oil to pass the Anti Doping Authority of Kenya bill, as part of efforts to stave off the dreaded WADA ‘non-compliance’ status.

After its May 2nd meeting, in which this was among several items on the agenda, WADA decided to declare Kenya ‘non-compliant’ anyway. Reason being that the bill that was passed was described as ‘a total mess.’

Considering that two other deadlines had passed before Kenya finally met the third deadline, this decision is more of a shock than it probably should be.

This is a severe blow for the Olympic aspirations of a country, who in ~60 years of representation at the games only has one medal that did not come from track and field (RIP Robert Wangila).

David Rudisha’s 800m title defense could be jeopardized by the folly of others (Source: The UK Guardian Newspaper)

WADA’s ‘non-compliant’ recommendation will now pass to the International Olympic Committee, and the International Association of Athletics Federations, for a final decision on whether or not Kenya’s track and field athletes can show up at the Olympics or not.

If Kenya’s track and field contingent are absent from Rio 2016, then the nation’s  medal hopes will lie with an under-resourced and neglected boxing contingent, the Sevens rugby team, and a Hodge podge of individual practitioners of sports like shooting, archery, swimming etc and (if they make it through the last global qualifier) women’s volleyball.

In short, we will really be up against it

 

UPDATE!  The IAAF has stated that it will not bar Kenya from sending Athletes to the Olympics. Kenya has until the end of the year to rectify the parts of the ADAK bill that were found wanting

Going Down under: A Preview of Kenya’s WCLC matches against Papua New Guinea


After several months of inactivity, Kenya’s mens national cricket team is back in World Cricket League Division one action, with a pair of matches against Papua Ne Guinea at the end of May.

Since their last action (a 2-0 whitewash of Namibia on their own patch) a number of teams have overtaken them in the WCL standings, so Kenya go into the series in 4th place needing to win both games to get back to the top of the standings, and in pole position to qualify for the qualifying tournament of the 10 team 2019 World Cup in England

The Playing Squad (According to FB sources)

Rakep Patel (C)
Shem Obado Ngoche (VC)
Irfan Karim
Dhiren Ghondaria
Collins Obuya
Nelson Mandela Odhiambo
Nehemiah Odhiambo Ngoche
Sunny Ghatora
Rushab Patel
Karan Kaul
Elijah Otieno
Lucas Oluoch
Emmanuael Bundi
Maurice Ouma

The team will be coached by Thomas Odoyo, and his long time new ball partner Peter Ongondo

Alex Obanda misses out on selection (Source:The Star )

The squad features the return of Maurice Ouma, Lucas Oluoch and the potential debut for Sunny Ghatora, whose performances in club cricket seems to have gotten him a call up. On the flip side, Alex Obanda, and Narendra Kalyan have been ommitted while Hiren Varaiya, who stood in as captain in the Namibia tour is also left out.

With Rakep Patel and his Deputy captain Shem Ngoche returning to the helm of the team, as well as Cricket Kenya successfully resolving player contracts in an orderly fashion, it looks like Kenya will be going into this round of matches as focused on the actual cricket as they have been in a long time.

Papua New Guinea on the other hand are fresh from playing Ireland in a twenty20 as well as Intercontinental Cup matches. The Irish dominated the $ day match but papua Nrew Guinea were able to grab a consolation victory in a 2-1 loss in the t20s. They sit in  6th place, 2 points behind Kenya in the WCLC table.