Jackie Janmohamed's reign at the helm of Cricket Kenya has only just started, and she has already had a major battle to deal with. Janmohameds' first major task as chairperson was to endorse a new competition called "The Cricket Wars", which was meant to run through the weekend just gone (1-3 February). According to the event's website, the Cricket Wars was supposed to be a complete entertainment package. Eight teams made up of Bollywood stars, ex-international cricketers and Kenyan players both male and female would fight it out in 10-over matches.
I think that this is a fantastic idea. Getting to watch your favourite Kenyan players bowl against your favourite Bollywood stars is not an everyday occurrence. I for one was desperately looking forward to attending this event, and who knows – it could have been a catalyst to getting spectators into the grounds once again.
I remember days when getting into the Nairobi Gymkhana to watch a match had to be planned in advance. We would call around to try and find car passes, so that we could park in the VIP area. We would leave home early to try and find a good seat, as the ground would be filled to capacity. Fast forward ten years and getting to the ground is a breeze. Nearly all seats are vacant, except for the ones in the clubhouse bar.
So... what happened with CK and the organisers of the Wars?
Well according to CK chairperson Janmohamed, the organisers were sent correspondence, asking them for various documents which are needed when contracted Kenyan players and ex-internationals are involved in any tournament.
Just to clarify: this is not a Cricket Kenya rule but an ICC rule. When you mull it over, it makes a lot of sense. If the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan etc came to Kenya to play an event and got injured, then the BCCI would seek answers from Cricket Kenya and not from the organisers.
Moving on, the organisers failed to hand in the required documentation, which meant that CK could not sanction the event. The organisers themselves say that the event has not been called off, but has just been postponed; however it's hard to see it actually happening if the issues between the two parties are not sorted out soon.
Meanwhile the Kenyan men's team travels to Uganda this month to take part in an ICC Africa World Cricket League Division One T20 tournament. This event will see the likes of Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Namibia and Nigeria taking part along with Kenya. Kenya need to ensure they use this event as a build-up to their Intercontinental Cup matches that will take place in March in Dubai. Kenya sit in seventh place in the I-Cup table, and must ensure they kickstart their campaign against a struggling Canada side who are bottom of the table.