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CK must take a hint from other sports


So the Kenyan team arrived from Scotland having lost all five matches that they played. As it’s been said in the past, it was a dismal performance from the men that represent the country on the international stage.

I managed to have a quick chat with the team's assistant coach, Thomas Odoyo, who was as upset as all the fans about the way thing played out in Aberdeen.

Thomas told me that conditions in Aberdeen were really difficult, and the ball kept slow and low.

Our Kenyan batsmen had to adjust to the wicket; however they found it hard to get the scoreboard ticking over. Despite not winning a single game in Scotland, Thomas is optimistic. He feels that despite putting themselves in a hole, the Kenyan team can still make it to the 2015 World Cup.

Can the Kenya team make it to Australia and New Zealand? This is a question that a lot of fans and pundits in Nairobi are asking.

The first thing that needs to be done is for the board to organise first-class matches against top sides. Kenya will go nowhere if we continue to play the likes of Uganda before every tour.

No disrespect to my brothers from across the lake, but I just don't think that playing them day in day and day out will help. I have a lot of time for the Ugandan players.

To be honest, I didn't know much about Uganda Cricket until the launch of the East Africa Cricket Competitions, where I got to watch the likes of Arthur Kyobe, Lawrence Sematimba, Raymond Otim, Deus Muhumuza and the rest in action.

These guys are talented cricketers and with good training I believe that they can be as good as anyone on their day.

However, at the moment playing the Ugandans is doing nothing for the development of our players.

We need to take on test-playing nations or their A-teams. If Cricket Kenya (CK) can’t organise matches against the top sides, then the next best thing would be to bring club sides from South Africa on tours of Kenya.

Teams like the Nashua Titans, Cape Cobras etc all have big stars in their sides, and playing against the likes of Kallis, Steyn etc would be very beneficial to our players.

If CK can't organise these games on a regular basis, then the next best thing would be to try and send the players out to play in other leagues.

The one consistent player for me in the Scotland tour was Tanmay Mishra, who plays his cricket in Mumbai.

The experience that he has gained has been invaluable for him and the Kenyan team as a whole.

If more players were sent out to countries like South Africa, India, Zimbabwe etc it would only help to boost the side.

CK needs to take a hint from other Kenyan sports, where top players are being allowed to play in other leagues.

Rugby Sevens player Willy Ambaka is heading off to France to play in their league; footballers Victor Wanyama, Dennis Oliech, Arnold Origi, Macdonald Mariga and more all ply their trade in the European leagues.

The experience that they gain by playing in these places serves as a boost to the national sides. Let’s do the same with our cricketers.

The next thing in my humble opinion is to get a dedicated first team coach. Kenya's current coach, Robin Brown, was brought in as Head of Cricket Development in the country, and took over as interim head coach after Mike Hesson resigned in September 2012.

It’s been 10 months and he is still the "interim" head coach of the country. CK chairlady Jackie Janmohamed has done well in terms of bringing in ex-players into the Kenyan cricket set-up.

She appointed Thomas Odoyo as assistant coach of the national team, Steve Tikolo was brought back from Uganda to take over as head coach of the under-19s, Joseph Angara and Peter Ongondo are also on the CK payroll. However she must now make a decision on the head coach.

If Robin Brown is the man for the job, confirm his appointment and let him be held accountable for the team’s performances. If he isn't the right person, then bring someone in who can take Kenyan cricket forward.

Finally Cricket Kenya must ensure that there is a competitive local league where they can put together a pool of national team players.

Last week I got a quote from former Kenyan international David Obuya, which rings so true. He had this to say: "The biggest problem is you can’t limit selection to only 22 contracted players in a country of 40 million."

If the 22 contracted players don't perform, then there should be an option of bringing in players who do. Every cricketer's dream is to wear the colours of his country, and to have the opportunity to fight for that honour.

The reason they wake up early every weekend to play cricket, is to prove their ability to whoever is watching. CK must sort out some sort of short-term contract for players they feel have the ability to make the step up to national level.

Whoever is in charge with selection needs to take a good look at the current crop of players, and if need be drop some of them for the next games until they prove themselves in the local leagues.


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