Cricket Kenya has announced the launch of all-inclusive Women Cricket League in the county. The league, which gets underway on Sunday in Nairobi, will involve all the girls that have been playing the game in the country for years.
Four teams, Chania Sharks, Athi Mambas, Tana Dolphis and Yala Whales will battle in both the Twenty20 formats in the league that will be played in Nairobi and Nakuru town.
The league, the first of its kind in the country gets underway with Chania Sharks captained by Margaret Banja taking on Pearlne Omamo's Yala Whales at Ruaraka Sports Club in the early morning match. .
Emily Ruto's Tana Dolphins will later on battle it out with Athi Mambas in the afternoon match. Athi Mambas is being captained by all rounder Sarah Bhakita.
The league, which comes weeks after the end of the National Secondary School League that was won by Rift Valley Development XI, is the best placed event for the players ahead of the Africa Twenty20 tournament to be held in December.
Coach Dun Okinyo said the development was good news to the girls who for years have been left in the shadows of men.
"Its good news. I can't wait to see these girls fighting it out against each other for the next four months. I expect to see good cricket from this girls," said Okinyo.
Ruto who is also the national team captain said the league will give them a lot of practice and at the same time help in exposing the young players.
"It is an important event for us. It has come at a good time and it will definitely be a good way to assess where we are as a country as far as women cricket is concerned in the country. We expect to see new players coming up which will be a good thing for us," she said.
Omamo expressed her excitement with the new development and vowed to lead the young players by example. She is the most successful player in the team with two international half tons and two in the NPCA league they were playing against the men's sides.
"I am very excited that finally we have our own league. It has been tough playing men. I am happy now we will have our own league to look at and make sure the upcoming players enjoy it and strive to succeed," said Omamo.
Both Banja and Bhakita believe the quality of the league will be good as each player especially the seniors players will always try to outdo each other.
"The squads are balanced and all players want to make a mark. We will be under pressure to perform and that will be good as one will always be forced to do well and in the end have positive results," Banja said.
We are looking at this league to get us new players. We have seen what some of them can offer in the school league and we are sure they will shine," Bhakita.
After the T20 matches which will run for two months, the league will move to the 40-40.