CRICKET IN KENYA
Reaching the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup and seemingly on the way to becoming the next ICC Full Member, Kenyan cricket over the past fifteen years has seen a sad decline, riddled with disputes and maladministration and a string of poor performances on the field following the retirement of the golden generation led by Steve Tikolo and Thomas Odoyo. Beginning within the British commercial and settler communities in the East African Protectorate (as Kenya was known until 1920) and later spreading to the growing Asian community in Nairobi and Mombasa, cricket was slow to establish a base in the indigenous African population, but by the late 1980s the game had firmly taken root, at least in the major population centres. There were matches between the three East African territories (Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika, now part of Tanzania) dating back to the 1920s, and combined sides played as East Africa, and later as East and Central Africa, in the early editions of the ICC Trophy and the World Cup. By 1982 Kenya were playing on the world stage in their own right, and they caused a sensation in the 1996 World Cup by beating the West Indies. Seven years later they did even better, though admittedly helped by the disruptions of political and security issues, and reached the semi-finals, where they lost to India. But poor governance, leading to disputes between the KCA Board and its players and the withdrawal of major sponsors, brought the loss of automatic ODI status and the eventual restructuring of the KCA as Cricket Kenya. The problems, however, remained, and legal disputes are still running at the time of writing. Never having developed a national league because of financial and infrastructural limitations, grassroots cricket was always dependent on provincial organisation of leagues, but these, too, fell apart through poor management. More recently, a franchise-based ‘Simba Premier League’ was established in 2018, while in 2019 Nairobi saw the launch of a successful Invitational Premier League.
First men’s international match: (as East African Protectorate) vs Uganda, Entebbe, 1914 (as Kenya) vs Tanganyika, 1951 Major international victories: vs West Indies, Pune, 1995-96 (World Cup) vs India, Gwalior, 1997-98 vs India, Port Elizabeth, 2001-02 vs Sri Lanka, Nairobi, 2002-03 (World Cup) vs Bangladesh, Johannesburg, 2002-03 (World Cup) Leading men’s international players: Aasif Karim (1980-2003), Maurice Odumbe (1989-2004), Steve Tikolo (1992-2014), Thomas Odoyo (1994-2014), Collins Obuya (2000- ) World Cup appearances: 1975 (as part of East Africa); 1996; 1999; 2003 Division 1 2007 (1), 2010 (5), Championship 2011-13 (6); Division 2 2015 (1), Championship 2015-17 (5); 2018 (6); Division 3 2018 (4) CWC Leagues: CWC Challenge League B 2019-21
First women's international match: Vs Uganda Women, Nairobi, 26 January 2001 Leading women's players: Margaret Ngoche (2000- ), Mercyline Ochieng (2000- ), Sarah Wetoto (2005- ) World Cup appearances: 0
Gymkhana Club ground, Nairobi Ruaraka Sports Ground, Nairobi Jaffery Sports Club, Nairobi Jaffery Sports Club, Mombasa