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Dwindling fortunes: Kenya cricket dead, says former captain Aasif Karim

On Saturday, February 8, 2014, there were hardly any fans at Nairobis Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to receive the Kenyan national team that returned from New Zealand after losing the One-Day International (ODI) status. According to Aasif Karim, who was Kenyas first captain after the team got the ODI status in 1997, cricket in this country is now dead. Speaking exclusively on telephone from Nairobi, Karim said: I am not surprised as I had seen this fall coming almost five to seven years back. Kenya cricket has been in a coma for the last five years and now it is dead and buried. Having started from a humble beginning to play for Kenya at the age of 17 in 1980, and finishing at the 2003 World Cup where Kenya reached the semi-finals, it pains me to see how local cricket standards have deteriorated. When Kenya got ODI status in 1997, I was appointed captain. At that time, Bangladesh also got the ODI status. Until 2003, Kenya was ahead of Bangladesh. Whereas Bangladsh has moved on to a much higher level, Kenyas case has been a disaster, he added. Excellent facilities All stakeholders will need to come together to chart the way forward to revive local cricket standards. Should this happen, I think it will take at least 10 years for Kenya to be a force in international cricket, he added. We have excellent facilities but we just need dedicated and competent people to run the sport, Karim concluded. The former national team captain, who has lamented the loss of the countrys ODI status, hopes the sport can be revived. Retained title Meanwhile, Mombasa Sports Club retained the Coast 40 over cricket league title as the league came to an end this weekend, adds Ernest Ndunda. Mombasa Heats face Burhani at Coast Gymkhana Sports Club in the last league match. The champions have bagged enough points for the crown and the final match will not change the standing table of the top four teams.

Former champions Mombasa Jaffery are second followed by Shree Cutchi Leva. Coast Gymkhana Sports Club finished fourth. Should Mombasa Heats beat Burhani, they will move to the fifth slot to displace Simba Union who showed rare brilliance against Shree Cutchi whom they beat by 69 runs. Elsewhere, the Mombasa Jaffery-sponsored T20 Zahra Cup continues this weekend when Mombasa Simba Union will be at Burhani grounds to play Coast Gymkhana. In some of the matches played at the weekend, Mombasa Jaffery lost their first game to Mombasa Sports Club. Poor fielding saw Mombasa Sports Club chase the 138 runs target in just under 18 overs with Yusuf Bakerali posting 63 runs and Sagar Karia 32 not out. Mombasa Jaffery relied on Mohamed Fazel (29) and Juma Abbas (31) to set the target, which was 30 runs shy of the required score to make a game of it in the end.