Kenya Cricket Tom Sears heads for Connacht – The Nation in Nairobi gives him at least one barrel!

Sears turns his back on Kenya for Ireland, but will CK get its act right?
Posted  Wednesday, May 2  2012 at  20:55

In Summary

Former Cricket Kenya CEO hired by the Irish RFU to head Connacht
Rugby after two years

Former Kenyan cricket players and officials who have been asking
whether he will leave or stay after a string of poor performances
should worry no more: Cricket Kenya Chief Executive Officer, Tom Sears
is leaving, having been hired by Irish Rugby Football Union to head
Connacht Rugby (province).

Hired amid fanfare by Cricket Kenya in June 2010 to replace Tom
Tikolo, Sears’ tenure has been marked by the worst performance of the
national team in recent times, but he is not totally to blame because
the decline started before his arrival.

During his tenure, Kenya lost all its matches at the 2011 Cricket
World Cup and more recently, the team failed to qualify for the
Twenty20 World Cup and during the qualifiers lost to even lowly-ranked

Even though he came up with programmes whose effects might be felt in
the long run, in the short term, his ideas became a cropper mostly
because of the players’ belligerence and incessant power plays in the
boardroom that always spilled out in the field of play and created
division among the players themselves.

It was during his reign that the two-tournament East Africa Cricket
championships of One Day Internationals and T20 pitting four teams
from Kenya and two from Uganda were organised, but even then, some
players were not fully convinced that the tournament yielded much, or
that it was his idea.

“Whatever plans Tom Sears tried to implement were started out by Tom
Tikolo,” says Jimmy Kamande, the former captain who was dropped from
the captaincy and the national team altogether after the World Cup.
“He should apologise to Kenyans for disrespecting players and not
recognising the way things are done locally.”

No fresh ideas

Kamande, who was appointed the captain to replace Maurice Ouma a few
weeks before the World Cup in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, says
prior to the East Africa Cricket Championships, Tom Tikolo – whose
brother Steve Tikolo was a former national captain – had initiated the
Sahara League.

“There is nothing new that he brought to local cricket and his
departure might just see a revival of local cricket,” Kamande said,
adding that save for the World Cup matches, during Sears’ reign, Kenya
never played any matches against the full members of the International
Cricket Council.

Sears, a former journalist who was ever-confident that his programmes
were going to bear fruit, oversaw the appointment of Mike Hesson after
the hapless Eldine Baptiste’s contract was terminated after the World

He also oversaw the appointment of a selection panel comprising former
players and oversaw the selection of a national squad and a squad of
emerging players from which the main team would be selected.

Even though Sears, 43, was instrumental in the growth of the women’s
national team, it was during his term that the women’s team threatened
to boycott an Africa Cricket Association-organised tournament that
Kenya was hosting, due to non payment of allowances.

In as much as former players might want him to take all the blame for
the decline, he will have to be credited with negotiating a
sponsorship deal with Karuturi for the national side which hitherto
had no sponsors.

ToPhilip Browne, the CEO of Irish RFU, “Tom has time and again,
throughout his career, shown ability to develop and grow each
professional sports organisation with whom he has worked.”

Previously, Sears has held positions with English Rugby Union and
Northampton Saints in addition to a chief executive role with Derby
County Cricket Club, according to BBC Sport, which also reported that
Connacht “made creditable debut appearance in this season’s Heineken
Cup with them running Gloucester and Harlequins very close in away
games before earning a home win over Harlequins.

Over his new appointment, Sears was reported to have said that there
is “enormous potential to build on the tremendous work that has
already been done. . . there is no reason why Connacht Rugby cannot
develop into one of Europe’s leading sides and that will be our
collective goal.”