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Kenya national cricket team

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ICC membership granted 1981
ICC member status Associate member[1]
ICC development region Africa
World Cricket League division Two
Captain Rakep Patel
Coach Steve Tikolo
First recorded match 1 December 1951 v Tanzania at Nairobi
As of 6 September 2014

The Kenya national cricket team is the team that represents the country of Kenya in international cricket matches. Kenya has been an associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) since 1981; it played its first One Day International in 1996, and its first Twenty20 International in 2007. At one time it was considered one of the strongest of the associate members of the ICC, particularly after reaching the semi-finals of the 2003 Cricket World Cup. It lost ODI and T20I status in 2014, after failing to qualify for the 2015 World Cup and the 2014 World Twenty20.


Early days

East Africa team

Full article: East Africa cricket team

Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda combined to form the East Africa cricket team, which became an associate member of the ICC in 1966.[2] They continued playing amongst themselves, and were joined by Zambia in a quadrangular tournament played annually between 1966 and 1980.[3]

India toured East Africa in 1967[4] and played a three-day match against Kenya on 5 August, which was drawn.[5] Various tours of, and by, East Africa continued, including a tour of England in 1972[6] and a first-class match between East Africa and the MCC at Nairobi Gymkhana Club in 1974[7] before East Africa took part in the first Cricket World Cup.

The 1975 Cricket World Cup took place in England, and East Africa were one of two non-test teams invited to the tournament, the other being Sri Lanka.[8] Kenya provided half of the fourteen man squad for the tournament.[3] After warm-up matches against Somerset, Wales, Glamorgan and various club sides, they played in the same first round group as England, India and New Zealand, losing to all three.[8] The World Cup was followed by a first-class match against Sri Lanka at the County Ground, Taunton.[9]

East Africa then took part in the 1979 ICC Trophy, the first ICC Trophy tournament, but did not progress beyond the first round, thus missing out on qualification for the 1979 World Cup.[10]

ICC membership

1996 World Cup

ODI status

File:Cricket kenya logo.jpg
Old Cricket Kenya logo

Following their World Cup performance, Kenya were given full ODI status by the ICC, and hosted a quadrangular tournament against Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka in September/October 1996.[11] The Netherlands toured in December, playing four one-day matches, with the Kenyans winning them all.[12] They played in the quarter finals of South Africa's Standard Bank Cup in March 1997, losing to Natal by 104 runs at Kingsmead.[13] Following this was the 1997 ICC Trophy, hosted in Malaysia.[14] Kenya reached the final, where they lost to Bangladesh by two wickets.[15] This was followed by a tri-series against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in October the same year in Nairobi.[16]

England A were the first opposition in 1998, touring Kenya in January. A three-day match was drawn, with England A winning the only one-day match that was not abandoned due to the weather.[17] After this was another spot in the quarter final of the Standard Bank Cup, this time losing to Gauteng by 8 wickets.[18] Kenya visited India in May, playing a triangular ODI series against Bangladesh and India.[19] In the final match of the round-robin stage, Kenya beat India by 69 runs.[20] Kenya then competed in the cricket tournament at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Drawn in the same first round group as New Zealand, Pakistan and Scotland, Kenya only beat the Scots, and finished third in the points table for the group.[21]

Kenya warmed up for the 1999 World Cup with a triangular series in Bangladesh against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.[22] In the 1999 World Cup itself, they were placed in the same first round group as England, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Following warm-up games against Somerset, Gloucestershire and Glamorgan, they lost all five of their games in the tournament proper.[23] Following the World Cup, they played a quadrangular tournament at home against India, South Africa and Zimbabwe, again losing all their games.[24]

The 21st century started for Kenya with a visit to Zimbabwe to play in the ICC Emerging Nations Tournament against Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland and Zimbabwe A. Kenya won the tournament[25] and took this form onto a seven match tour of India on which they lost just one game.[26] Pakistan A toured Kenya in July, playing a five match one-day series and a four-day first-class match. The four-day match was drawn, and Kenya won the one-day series 4–1.[27] The 2000 ICC KnockOut Trophy was played in Nairobi in October, with Kenya falling to India at the first hurdle.[28]

The first opponents for Kenya in 2001 were Sri Lanka A, who toured Kenya in January, playing two first-class matches and four one-day matches. Both first-class matches were drawn, and Sri Lanka A won the first two one-day games, with the final two being abandoned.[29] The West Indies came in August for two first-class games and a three match ODI series. The first first-class game was won by the West Indies, with the second being drawn, and the three ODIs all went the way of the visitors.[30] Kenya then played an ODI triangular tournament in South Africa in October, playing against India and the hosts,[31] and picked up a second ODI win over the Indians.[32] Zimbabwe A toured Kenya towards the end of the year, losing a first-class series 1–0 and a one-day series 3–2.[33]

Kenya toured Sri Lanka in early 2002, playing three first-class and three one-day matches against Sri Lanka A. Sri Lanka A won all three of the first-class games, but Kenya won the one-day series 2–1.[34] The MCC toured Kenya shortly after this, playing one three-day match and six one-day matches against the national side. Five of the one-day matches went the way of the Kenyans before the sixth one-day match and the three-day match were abandoned.[35] Kenya then played in the ICC 6 Nations Challenge tournament in Windhoek, Namibia, playing against Canada, Namibia, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka A and Zimbabwe A.[36] Kenya won the tournament, beating Sri Lanka A by 3 wickets in the final.[37] In August/September, Kenya hosted an ODI triangular tournament against Australia and Pakistan, losing all four of their matches.[38] This was followed by a place in the 2002 ICC Champions Trophy, though Kenya lost to the West Indies and South Africa, failing to progress beyond the first round.[39]

Namibia toured Kenya in November, playing four one-day games. Kenya won the series 2–1, with one game being abandoned.[40] Kenya then toured Zimbabwe to round off the year, playing three one-day matches against Zimbabwe A, and a three-match ODI series against the full Zimbabwean side. Zimbabwe won the ODI series 2–0, with one match finishing in a no result, and Zimbabwe A won their series against Kenya 2–1.[41]

2003 World Cup and decline

The 2003 Cricket World Cup was to be Kenya's finest moment in international cricket to date. The tournament was to be held in South Africa, with Kenya hosting their two matches against Sri Lanka and New Zealand.[42] The tournament started with a defeat to South Africa,[43] but Kenya bounced back with a four wicket win over Canada in Cape Town.[44] New Zealand forfeited their match against Kenya in Nairobi due to safety concerns,[45] but Sri Lanka did visit Nairobi and lost by 53 runs.[46] The tournament continued, back in South Africa, with a win over Bangladesh[47] and a defeat to the West Indies.[48] Kenya had done enough to qualify for the Super Six stage, becoming the first non-test nation to progress beyond the first round of the World Cup. In the Super Six stage, they lost to India[49] and Australia,[50] but beat Zimbabwe by seven wickets,[51] qualifying for the semi-final, where they lost to India by 91 runs.[52]

Kenya's World Cup success was rewarded with a spot in a quadrangular tournament at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, but they lost all three of their games.[53]

Kenya's failure in the above tournament is perhaps indicative of how they failed to capitalise on their World Cup success, though it must be said that not all of that failure was on the field. Although Kenya were given plenty of matches against national A sides, and played in the Carib Beer Cup in the West Indies in 2004,[54] Kenya only played two ODIs in the three years after the Sharjah tournament, against India and Pakistan in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy.[55]

Off-field setbacks also occurred. Maurice Odumbe was banned for match-fixing in August 2004,[56] and a series of strikes by players[57] led to a weakened Kenyan side being eliminated from the inaugural ICC Intercontinental Cup at the semi-final stage by Scotland.[58] By the end of the dispute in 2005, Kenyan cricket had no sponsors and was in virtual international isolation.[57] At that stage the governing body had dissolved internally and Kenyan cricket opportunities were limited and international cricket for them had virtually ceased.


2005 to 2007

A rebuilding process began in 2005. The player strikes ceased, and Kenya again reached the semi-finals of the Intercontinental Cup. They warmed up for the semi-finals in Windhoek with a tour of Zimbabwe, to play two first-class and one one-day match against Zimbabwe A. They won all three of those games,[59] and drew against Bermuda in the semi-final of the 2005 ICC Intercontinental Cup[60] but lost to Ireland in the final, despite scoring 404/4 in their first innings.[61]

In early 2006, the Kenya Cricket Association was disbanded and replaced by Cricket Kenya.[57] The rebuilding process was in full swing as Kenya began playing ODI cricket again. Their return to ODI cricket was a five match series against Zimbabwe, which was drawn 2–2 with one match abandoned.[59] This was followed by a four match ODI series against Bangladesh, with Kenya losing all four matches in that series.[62] Their 2006 ICC Intercontinental Cup campaign got off to a poor start with a draw against the Netherlands[63] and a defeat to Canada,[64] but they bounced right back with two ODI wins over Canada at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club.[65] Bangladesh toured Kenya in August, winning all three ODIs,[66] before an Intercontinental Cup draw against Bermuda[67] and three ODI wins over Bermuda.[68]

A triangular tournament in Mombasa against Canada and Scotland began Kenya's 2007 and Kenya won the tournament.[69] They then hosted Division One of the World Cricket League at three grounds in Nairobi, playing against Bermuda, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands and Scotland. Kenya also won this event, beating Scotland in the final.[70] This was followed by the 2007 World Cup, Kenya's fourth World Cup. Kenya beat Canada in the first round, but lost to England and New Zealand, thus missing out on the Super Eight stage.[71]

In October 2007, either side of Intercontinental Cup games, Kenya hosted Canada in two ODIs[72] and then Bermuda in three.[73] Kenya won all five matches, with strong bowling performances setting up relatively comfortable chases batting second.

2008 to 2011

In August 2008, after a break of nine months without a One Day or Twenty20 International, Kenya toured Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands for various series. It proved a disappointing tour overall, with rain and poor Kenyan batting performances being the main themes.

Kenya initially participated in the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the associate qualification tournament for the 2009 ICC World Twenty20. One of the favourites at the start of the tournament, they finished second in Group B with a loss to the Netherlands and a win over Canada, but losses to Ireland and Scotland in the knock-out stages meant that they finished fourth and thus failed to qualify for the World Twenty20.

Kenya then participated in three ODI series across Europe, but these merely resulted in two wash-outs against Scotland, defeat in a rain-affected one-off match to the Netherlands, and losing a three-match series against Ireland 1–0 with two matches affected by rain.

In October 2008, Kenya hosted Ireland and Zimbabwe in an ODI series in Nairobi, but after a loss to Ireland and a win over Zimbabwe, their last three matches were all abandoned due to rain.[74] After this washed-out series, Kenya then travelled to South Africa for two ODIs, losing heavily in both.[75]

In late January and early February 2009, Kenya played five ODIs at home against Zimbabwe, but lost all of them.[76]

Since the World Cup, a team known as Kenya Select has taken part in Zimbabwe's Logan Cup competition, but did not win a game,[77] also losing to Zimbabwe A.[78]

In their opening match of World Cup 2011 campaign, Kenya faced a mammoth defeat from New Zealand by 10 wickets, they were bowled out for 69 runs and New Zealand won the match in just 8 overs without the loss of a wicket.[79]

In 2011, Kenya was whitewashed by the Netherlands in a short 2 match ODI series played in Sportspark Westvielt, Voorburg. During this series, Kenya's weak batting was noted. They made only 208/8 in the first match and an even smaller 184/8 in the second match. Seren Waters and Collins Obuya (the national team captain) did, however, have notable performances – the former making 71 in the first match and the latter scoring 54 in the second match.

Reforms in 2011

For years, the Kenyan players had been the Associate nations' most pampered professionals. The first time Cricket Kenya's notice was attracted was when during the 2011 ODI World Cup, there were reports of internal dissent between the team,[80] as the team had a disastrous World Cup, losing all six of their games.[81] Cricket Kenya announced that it would review the World Cup debacle after the tournament was over. This was the beginning of a series of reforms initiated by the board.[82]

Following the reviews, the board replaced the former Sahara Elite League with the East African tournaments. While the East Africa Premier League is a Twenty20 tournament, the East African Cup is a 50-over tournament. It is currently hoped that this tournaments will produce further new young talents for Kenya in the future.[83] Within months, the East African tournaments were regarded in high esteem and the intensity was up to the brink, as an ESPNcricinfo interview with Cricket Kenya CEO Tom Sears revealed.[84]

Another important reform brought in by the board was to dump the old guard. As described by Cricinfo journalist Martin Williamson, the old guard was not committed to performance and was more keen to selfish gains.[85] The new contracts had completely cut ties with the past, with Collins Obuya, the new captain, being the oldest player at 29. Experienced players like the former captain Jimmy Kamande, a veteran of five World Cups, Thomas Odoyo, and others were not even considered. As was expected, the left-out players were quick to retort as Kamande said that "the board was selecting players who would be their puppets", while Odoyo opined that "it was malicious and not done in good faith". According to them, it was fast-tracking the death of Kenyan cricket. They were also supported by the Kenyan media.[86]

Among the 20 cricketers offered contracts, 13 of them were offered central contracts. To complicate things further, five players turned down those contracts: Alex Obanda, Shem Ngoche, James Ngoche, Nehemiah Odhiambo, and Elijah Otieno. Sears said that they were pleased with the group of seven players who committed to Cricket Kenya, while equally disappointed with those who refused contracts.[87] Accordingly, they were left out of the squad to face the UAE in the ICC Intercontinental Cup.[88]

Cricket Kenya offered contracts to more deserving young, talented players, such as opening batsman Runish Gudhka from Nairobi, the Australian-born all-rounder Duncan Allan, wicketkeeper Irfan Karim, and impressive fast bowlers such as Emmanuel Ringera, Ibrahim Akello, and Dominic Wesonga, who had performed exceedingly well in the regional NPCA and East African leagues.[89]

However, the eight players who had refused the contracts offered by the board, with former skipper Morris Ouma, Alfred Luseno and Nelson Odhiambo being late inclusions, asked their views to be heard, and despite the board granting them another chance, they finally took a firm stance against them. While Obanda, Shem and James Ngoche, Odhiambo, and Otieno were made renewed offers, while Ouma, Luseno, and Nelson had a three-month agreement till March 2012 subject to performance. If they could do something good, they could retain their spot in the team. Sears said of this debacle,"It's a shame that yet again some of these players have turned down their contracts but that is their choice. We met with these players as we promised we would, we listened to their views and made them offers that reflected what they wanted – an agreement that would run until the end of the contract year in May 2012 if they met certain performance criteria which all players have to meet. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect was that they refused to represent their teams in the East African Competitions last weekend pulling out at the very last minute. Again sadly it calls into question the professionalism of these players, how committed they are to putting in the effort, their application in fulfilling their potential and the advice they have been getting from their advisors."[90]

Another reform was to appoint the former Otago coach Mike Hesson as the national coach.[91] Immediately afterwards, Hesson announced that he was here to resolve and put to end the dispute between the players and the board. He said that in an interview to the newspaper Otago Daily Times.[92]

The East Africa finals were rescheduled from October to December 2011 due to heavy showers in Nairobi at that time.[93] However, once again, heavy showers in December led the finals again being postponed to January 2012.[94]

Tournament history