Over the course of the current series of posts, I will be looking at the situation of various Kenyan Sports, as the nation attempts to move forward in the wake of the global covid-pandemic.
In the last post I looked at the situation in football, this post will look at cricket. This is the most historically successful sport in Kenya, and one I have written a great deal about on this blog.
The Big picture
While as most other sports mostly have only the covid-19 pandemic to worry about, there is no shortage to the number of crises, or rather the scope of the existential crisis, gripping the game of cricket right now.
Lack of legitimate leadership at the top, wrangles between virtually all stakeholders of the game, lack of a development program, and dwindling player numbers means that the sport has a lot to contend with to survive the pandemic, or even grow in the aftermath.
The Domestic game
Ordinarily local cricket clubs participate in regional 50 over, 40 overs and T20 competions at the regional leval from March through to December. This is a bit of a hold-over from the traditional ‘English cricketing summer.’ The most vibrant competitions were based in the Nairobi and Mombasa region, with Rift Valley also at times putting together competitions for teams based around Nakuru.
So far it is not clear how what will become of these competitions, until the Kenyan government’s task force on sports concludes its work and give a way forward.
At the global level, the men and women’s national teams were in the process of attempting to qualify for the next 2020 World Cup, when all cricket was suspended due to the covid-19 pandemic. The men’s 2020 world Cup has been pushed forward a year, and the global qualifying tournament suspended until further notice. Kenya was also scheduled to participate in the now postponed Africa T20 Cup midway through this year.
Though the International Cricket Council has since published guidelines for playing cricket in a ’socially distanced manner, the Africa Cricket Association has yet to give direction on how, or when the Africa T20 Cup tournament might possibly be re-scheduled.
There has also not been any communication of ne dates for pending qualifying tournaments that Kenya is scheduled to participate in for the foreseeable future
Off the field
Even before government regulations suspended cricket, as part of the suspension of public gatherings, the management structure of the game was on the brink of collapse. Elections for the top management board of Cricket Kenya failed, a draft constitution, meant to break the deadlock at the top management of Cricket Kenya was trashed literally days after it was released. Since then there does not seem to be much of an appetite for reconciliation who knows when or how the deadlock will be broken?