Kenyan rebels come in from the cold
After a months-long stand-off between a group of Kenya's leading cricketers and Cricket Kenya their dispute over contracts has been resolved, and the eight former dissidents have been included in the new training squad which was announced on Thursday.
The players, Alex Obanda, Shem Ngoche, James Ngoche, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Elijah Otieno, Morris Ouma, Nelson Odhiambo and Alfred Luseno missed Kenya's initial Intercontinental Cup and one-day commitments against the UAE and the Netherlands, but can be expected to return for the World Twenty20 qualifier in Dubai in March, and for Kenya's next fixtures in the ICC's four-day and one-day competitions, at home to Ireland.
Commenting on the resolution of the dispute, Cricket Kenya CEO Tom Sears said on Wednesday: ‘We are pleased that we have resolved the situation with these players who have expressed their sincere regret over the way they have conducted themselves and the actions they have taken in recent months.
‘Cricket Kenya has always been keen to resolve this situation and have these players available. They have now come to the realisation that they have been badly advised and made some very poor decisions. They have all apologised and accepted new terms which will see them involved with the National Training Squad.'
In a rather humiliating joint statement, the players said: ‘We would like to apologise for the way we have conducted ourselves both to Cricket Kenya and our teams in the East African Cricket Competitions.
‘Some of the advice we received from outside parties and those supposed to be representing our interests was not in our best interests but ultimately we have to accept responsibility for our own decisions. In the future we will work with Cricket Kenya and make sure we are properly represented by people who are capable, independent and offer sound advice which has not been the case recently.
‘We are very grateful we have been given this opportunity to be involved with the National squad again and will work positively with Cricket Kenya in the future. Cricket Kenya has instigated a lot of progressive changes since the post-World Cup review, like the new EACC, and we are very keen to contribute to a better future for cricket in Kenya.'
There can be no doubt that the return of experienced players of genuine quality such as Maurice Ouma and Nehemiah Odhiambo to the squad will strengthen the Kenyan side, although it must also be acknowledged that Kenya's performances over the past couple of years, including the World Cricket League and the World Cup, have often been disappointing.
But national chairman of selectors Alpesh Vadher was very positive as he announced the full squad and a new 20-man Emerging Players Squad, adding that ‘all the players named in both squads will be monitored closely and be involved with the National Coach and other Cricket Kenya coaches.
‘This group provides more competition for places,'he added, 'which will drive players to perform at their best.'
The full national squad is:
Ragheb Aga, Ibrahim Akello, Duncan Allen, Runish Gudhka, Irfan Karim, Alfred Luseno, Tanmay Mishra, James Ngoche, Shem Ngoche, Alex Obanda, Collins Obuya, Nehemiah Odhiambo, Nelson Odhiambo, Lucas Oluoch, Elijah Otieno, Morris Ouma, Rakep Patel, Hiren Varaiya, Seren Waters and Dominic Wesonga.
The Emerging Players Squad is:
Harrison Ambani, Emmanuel Bundi, Dhiren Gondaria, Rakesh Hirani, Karan Kaul, Narendra Kerai, Peter Kituku, Martin Mworia, Martin Okoth, Benjamin Oluga, Nick Oluoch, Joseph Onyango, Mitesh Sanghani, Raj Savala, Raj Shikotra, Gagandeep Singh, Paramveer Singh, Rajiv Sutaria, Bhavya Thakker and Rahul Vishram.