Cricket Kenya has launched new regional franchise competitions in Twenty20 and 50 over cricket.
The East Africa Premier League and East African Cup commence on 20 August and will feature six newly constituted teams from Kenya and Uganda playing in a round robin league format. The top two teams in each competition will compete in live televised finals at the end of October.
The competitions are designed to improve the standard of domestic cricket in the region, develop more players capable of playing at international level and stimulate interest in the game throughout East Africa.
Four teams from Kenya will participate, the Nairobi Buffaloes, Kongonis both based in the capital, the Rift Valley Rhinos from Nakuru and Coast Pekee in Mombasa, while Rwenzori Warriors and Nile Knights will represent Uganda. Teams will be comprised of international players, senior club players and age group cricketers aiming to make the national squads of both countries.
Cricket Kenya has agreed a broadcast deal with Supersport who will televise a number of live matches throughout Africa as well as a regular highlights and magazine programme.
Cricket Kenya Chief Executive Tom Sears said: 'This is a hugely exciting development for cricket in the region, one which we hope will improve playing standards and ignite a real interest and passion for the game throughout the region.
"We hope by concentrating the pool of talent we have into a smaller number of teams playing highly competitive cricket, the fortunes of our national teams will improve over time and lower down, in domestic and age group cricket, standards will improve as players strive to make one of the franchise teams.
"There has already been significant interest in the East Africa Premier League and East African Cup from both the cricket and corporate worlds and we believe once the competition commences this will grow and continue to grow in future years."
Bipin Vora, Chairman of the East African Cricket Competitions Committee said: 'These new competitions have to potential to take the sport of cricket to new levels in our region. We hope they will inspire our players to new heights, encourage players of all ages to achieve their full potential and encourage more people throughout Kenya and Uganda to get involved in this great sport.
"Never before has domestic cricket enjoyed such attention and high profile and we are very grateful for all the support we have received from our broadcast and commercial partners. We firmly believe that these competitions will gather real momentum and attract more investment which will benefit cricket right from the grass roots all the way up to international level."