With the last weekend of First Class matches failing to produce a definite winner the inagural season of Cricket’s Sahara Elite league drew to a rather low key, if not somewhat dissapointing, conclusion. The Southern Stars, under the captaincy of veteran wicket-keeper batsman Kennedy Obuya, managed to eke out just about enough points from their two drawn games and one walk over victory to win the 2-day competition meaning that at the end of the entire series the only franchise that was left empty handed was the Western Chiefs.
With the competition having been put back severally due to various reasons including most unfortunately the violence that rocked the country following disputed general elections, it was going to be a somewhat difficult task to make the competition work when a huge chunk of trhe most ideal time to play the matches had been eaten away. Nonetheless the first two formats went without a hitch with The Eastern Aces blowing away the competition in the T20 competition and the Northern Nomads carrying the day in the 50 overs One day league. However with very little time left till they were set to begin Cricket Kenya opted to postpone the last, and probably most significant, part of the competition the three day league. The reason being unfavourable weather would make it difficult to play a meaningful competition during the expected rainy season months of April and May.
With the competition now set to start in June it became apparent that the fact that a sinificant number of players drafted to play would not be available for action for their teams due to school and work commitments and the three day competition became a two day competition, which although made it possible for the teams to just about scrape together playing XIs meant that ultimately there was not enough time in any of the games to force a result with both the Southern Stars, and Northern Nomads coming desperately close in pursuit of winnable totals.
With the objective of getting the competition off the ground completed despite all the difficulties along the way there were definitely a few lessons to be learned both positive and negative. Though the competition was closesly fought the brevity of the tournaen might be an issue to look into with bothe One Day tournaments concluded in only 12 days of cricket and when it comes to selecting the best of the best to repent Kenya in 50 overs and T20 matches 3 matche seems a little small a number of games to consider. Crickcet Kenya could consider inviting representative sides from Uganda and Tanzania to bulk up the competition and guarantee each side at least 5 matches or doubling the number of games each side plays so there can be the prospect of home and away games. They could also consider the prospect of having the games televised on local television stations as a means of gettig the public interested as well as drawing investors. Aside from that, now that the competition is up and running, hopefully we are witnessing the beginning of something that could become central to Kenyan and possibly regional cricket for years to come.