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Our cricketers should learn from the athletes

Sunday September 11 2011

Kenya cricket team player Dominic Wesonga bowls in front of umpire Russell Tiffin during their four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup match against the United Arab Emirates on July 28 at the Nairobi Gymkhana. Photo/ Chris Omollo

Kenya cricket team player Dominic Wesonga bowls in front of umpire Russell Tiffin during their four-day ICC Intercontinental Cup match against the United Arab Emirates on July 28 at the Nairobi Gymkhana. Photo/ Chris Omollo 


Last weekend, the East Africa Premier League (EAPL) and the East Africa Cup tournament (EAC) entered the fourth week today.

Kongonis will be playing Nairobi Buffaloes in a Nairobi Derby at the Nairobi Club, Ruwenzori Warriors were pitted against perennial losers Coast Pekee in Kampala, while Rift Valley Rhinos were set to face off with Nile Knights at the Rift Valley Sports Club.

Of all the clubs, only Coast Pekee remains winless and without points in both the T20 EAPL and 50-overs EAC while Kongonis, whO are not so lucky in the T20 matches, are leading the pack when it comes to ODIs and entered the fourth week with 10 points.

On the heels of Kongonis in the EAC points table was Nile Knights and Nairobi Buffaloes with eight points each, Ruwenzori Warriors with six points, Rift Valley Rhinos with four, and of course Coast Pekee with no points at all.

In the EAPL points table, Ruwenzori Warriors have been showing their fighting spirit, having registered three wins out of the three matches.

Nairobi Buffaloes and Rift Valley Rhinos had won two matches each while Nile Knights and ODI leaders Kongonis had each registered a single win.

Yet to leave a mark

But Coast Pekee were still to make a mark on the points table.

While the local franchises were battling it out, the national team was in the Netherlands where its first four-day match against the hosts was abandoned due the incessant rains without a ball being bowled.

While the abandonment might have been bad news for the players who were raring to go, some might even consider it a godsend for a team that was considered weak even before it left the country after a host of “experienced” players were dropped for what can only be termed, for lack of a better word, indiscipline.

Some commentators have called them rebels, but that would be an overstatement or a typical case of giving a minor problem a big name in a situation where the biggest losers are the players themselves, considering that even their franchise has also suspended them.

Ideally, there is no sports federation in Kenya without its problems, and that situation not only speaks volumes about the level of sports administration in the country, but also about the level of professionalism and the commitment of sportspersons to their respective disciplines.

Indisciplined squad

Belligerence and one-upmanship is the name of the game, and over the years, footballers led the indisciplined squad, but they must have realised that they stood no chance not only because there were a number of players, but also because bigger European clubs were coming in and they stood no chance of getting noticed if they did not play ball, literally.

Other sportspersons have also toned down their rhetoric and even though the administrators have not improved and the level of administration still remains at an all-time low, the bitter wars have been confined to the playing grounds.

Of course these simmering rows will have to be solved at one point or the other and will not just die down on their own, but cricketers need to realise that very few people – including the Cricket Kenya mandarins – care about them.

Even though theirs is an elite sport and a gentlemen’s game, they do not register in the local sports map and only good results in the international arena will make them be noticed and force the powers that be to come to their aid.

Players look bad

Even though it is not fair for the CK officials to take advantage of their standing in the eyes of both the society and the International Cricket Council (ICC) officials, confrontational tactics, outright rebellion and indiscipline by the players are only making them (the players) look bad, like spoilt brats who demand much more than they deliver.

Over the years, the country’s most noticeable and best performing team has been the athletics team, and that does not mean that Athletics Kenya (AK) boardroom is full of saints.

It is just that these runners know what they want and not only exercise restraint but are also just a little bit disciplined.

It is high time our cricketers learnt from the athletes. This is the only way they will strike the right code and put Kenya where it belongs in international cricket.