It’s been months since this blog had and more than one post on several issues during that time. But I digress. This Saturday morning (or perhaps late Friday), Cricket Kenya announced it s list of 13 out of 20 centrally contracted players that will carry the nation past the debacle that was the 2011 World Cup. What made headlines though was not who made the cut so far, but who dropped, or turned down contracts (depending on whom you believe). They are:
1. Thomas Odoyo
The all rounder remains the only player to pass 100 ODI wickets and 2000 ODI runs from outside the Test playing world and his exclusion means that he is the very last of the players who featured in Kenya’s 1st World Cup campaign to be pushed out by the management. He is also the last Kenyan batsman to score an ODI century (v. Canada in 2008?). After serving as Steve Tikolo’s deputy from 2006-2009, he was surprisingly overlooked as captain in 2009 and now he finds himself out in the cold for the first time since 1996.
2. David Obuya
The opening batsman and wicket-keeper has been a team stalwart since 2003, though to the 2011 World Cup campaign. He is part of one the most influential sporting families in Kenyan sports, with 2 of his siblings (Kennedy and Collins also featuring for our cricket team) and the owners of the Obuya Cricket academy.
3. Morris Ouma
He was given the task of being the first Kenyan national team captain in the post-Tikolo era (never mind Tikolo was present though out his entire captaincy) eventually resigning following defeat in an Intercontinental Cup match in October of 2010. He made his national team debut just after Kenya’s 2003 World Cup and batted just about everywhere in Kenya’s lineup whilst splitting Wicket-Keeper duties with David Obuya.
4. Jimmy Kamande
The man tasked with, and ultimately responsible for, the leadership, or lack thereof during what may be Kenya’s last World cup for a loooong time. He has faced adversity from all manner of places in his 12 years as an upcoming pace bowler, then upcoming spinner, then a bits and pieces all rounder, and most recently captain of team trying to put forth semblance of order at the 2011 World Cup.
These four players carry the bulk of the national team’s International experience. It also leaves Collins Obuya as one of only two players who was in the national team before Cricket Kenya came into existence. On the one hand, if Cricket Kenya’s point is a new start, they certainly don’t seem to think a lack of experience will be much of a hindrance, though on the other hand a clean break has to be a clean break. The burden of leading the team will most likely fall on Collo’s shoulders (whether or not he is made captain). That means making sure Kenya stops missing out on the T20 World Cup (next edition 2012), wins that first ever Intercontinental Cup, and wrests back dominance of associate cricket from an Ireland team that presently has a huge advantage exposure-wise, thanks to the access its top players have to England’s County Cricket Circuit. The contracted players will also form the core of the Kenyan franchises for the inaugural East Africa Cups starting next month.
The 13 contracted players announced so far are (as listed on Cricket Kenya Website):