NAIROBI, Kenya- Cricket Kenya is reeling from crisis following the resignation of the chairperson of the governing board, Jackie Janmohammed and other members over the weekend.
Janmohammed who made history in December 2012 when she became the first woman to head a board of cricket in the world fell on her sword on Saturday in the aftermath of Kenya’s poor performance at the 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Two.
Kenya finished in the bottom of the standings to be relegated to Division Three, the fourth tier of international cricket, in what represented the lowest ebb of a once proud sport.
Janmohammed announced board elections would be held on March 24 as she challenged critics of her administration to seek posts at the exercise, challenging them to restore the fortunes of the former Associate nation that had One Day International status.
Speaking to the BBC Focus on Africa show on Monday night, the administrator who was reported to have considered relinquishing her position last December explained why she took the stunning decision.
“One of the consideration that I took to account was the performance of the national team and somebody had to take responsibility for it,” Janmohammed told the show.
“Interim coach, Thomas Odoyo has stepped down, the captain Rakep Patel has stepped down and I took it on the chin and decided to also take that responsibility the other two had.
“It was a very bad outing for Team Kenya, let us not hide away from that. That is what happened,” Janmohammed added.
Kenya, once recognised as one of the best non-Test playing nations, were relegated to Division Three after losing five matches in the Division Two competition but Janmohammed argued the wretched performance was not related to motivation.
“All those players who play in Team Kenya are contracted. They have been given their salaries, allowances and bonuses if they won matches. They also had five matches they played against Zimbabwe ‘A’ before going for this tournament.
“So what other inspiration do they need? Playing for your country is an inspiration in itself,” the Nairobi-based lawyer charged.
Abhijeet Raja Sarkar, the CK Director of Development and Tom Tikolo, the Nairobi Provincial Cricket Association (NPCA) chairman, are reported to have also quit the board in solidarity with Janmohammed but the outgoing boss dispelled notions there would be a power vacuum in administering the sport.
“Whenever there a vacancy of an elected member, there must be an election in 30 days. The office will continue until the elections are conducted,” she assured quoting the CK constitution’s provisions on succession.
“Whoever comes in next after I have left can probably come up with fresh ideas and find out if there is a new way to take it forward and give them better inspiration like I did,” she maintained.
In a broadside to her critics, Janmohammed insisted her decision was not driven by her own failure to realise her vision of growing the sport in a country that has been relegated to Division Two and Division Three inside a year.
“I have received several calls with a lot of people telling me to consider the decision from outside but not from Kenya. It seems they did not want me here and they have already said it in chat groups. They are saying good riddance and hope she doesn’t come back.
“Their hatred was an absolute inspiration to prove them wrong but unfortunately when people have blinkered vision there is nothing you can do to change that blinkered vision,” the immediate former CK boss who quit her position in July last year only to return fired back.
“Being a woman is why I took the role of responsibility. Sometimes you see people do not resign but by doing so, I’m telling the world that women can take responsibility for the actions of others,” she added.
Janmohammed made history when she was elected as the first female to head the cricket governing body and her decision to call it quits has plunged the CK into crisis.
She served as a legal advisor to the old Kenya Cricket Association when the sport was buzzing and went on to capture the imagination of the country and the world under the stewardship of the late Sharad Ghai.
On assuming office, she was charged with implementing the findings of a comprehensive review that was carried out in the wake of Kenya’s disastrous 2011 World Cup campaign – their worst performance in a World Cup.
Kenya were hammered by New Zealand – who bowled them out for 69 – Pakistan and Sri Lanka, handsomely beaten by Australia and, of most concern, swept aside by Zimbabwe and comfortably beaten by Canada – an alarming set of results only eight years on from a semi-final in 2003.
“My short term plans are to ensure both the national Under-19 and the senior men’s team qualify for the next World Cup,” she told ESPN Cricinfo at the time.