Kenya blames ICC for its current slump

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Nairobi, Sep 28 (UNI) Coming down harshly on the International Cricket Council, the Cricket Kenya said lack of support from the ICC was the primary reason behind the present crisis of cricket affairs in this East African nation.

Cricket Kenya's chief executive Tom Tikolo said here yesterday, ''The ICC will have to do more if wanted to save cricket in Kenya, a country that reached the 2003 world cup semifinals but is now struggling to survive at the international arena.'' ''We are under-funded and feel completely ignored,'' Tikolo told mediapersons.

''The ICC is giving us a grant but it's far from enough. The government help is non-existent while sponsorship is scarce. We are looking towards the international cricket community for support,'' he stressed.

It came as a surprise to the cricket world, when the Kenyans reached the World Cup last-four in 2003 but since then the graph has been on a decline.

The Kenyans, who are to feature in the ICC World Cup qualifiers for the 2011 event next April, are lacking in confidence ahead of the 12-nation event which will see the top four making the cut for the quadrennial spectacle to be hosted by Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

However, in the ongoing series against the visiting Pakistan academy, Kenya looked quite vulnerable against Pakistan.

Tikolo blames lack of exposure to Kenyans cricketers for their poor performances.

''We need to play more competitive games,'' he said. ''We have to play against stronger sides otherwise it is going to be very difficult to bring any improvement in our performance,'' Tokolo added.

He further said lack of funds and a dearth of matches against stronger teams have pushed the Kenyan cricket backward.

Tikolo, elder brother of Kenya captain Steve Tikolo, revealed that Cricket Kenya needs at least 1.2 million dollar to run the sport professionally in the country but there is a shortfall of around 500,000 dolar.

''Kenya get 450,000 dolar from the ICC, 150,000 dollar from TV rights and 100,000 dollar from a newly-acquired sponsorship from a local company tusker.

''What we get currently is just not enough,'' he said.

''Kenya doesn't have a cricket culture which is why we badly need a proper schools structure to find new players and that is not possible without proper funding.'' On Kenya becoming a Test side, Tikolo said, ''We would have become a Test side long ago if we had some big brothers.'' ''Just before Bangladesh became a Test side we were beating them hollow and now we are nowhere in world cricket,'' he lamented.

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