LONDON, June 26 – Kenya has lost the rights to host next year's Under-19 Cricket World Cup after the International Cricket Council (ICC)said the country was not in a position to put on the tournament.
The switch comes just eight months before the event is due to take place and sees it returning to New Zealand for the first time since 2002.
Kenya, a non-Test cricket nation, was awarded the tournament in 2006 having previously been a sub-host, along with Zimbabwe, of the senior 2003 World Cup which was staged mainly in South Africa.
But at its board meeting here at Lord’s Cricket Ground, the ICC received a report saying it was "unrealistic" to expect the African country to be ready to host given the large amount of work still needing to be done.
The ICC said New Zealand would be the location for the tournament, subject to the agreement of satisfactory terms.
Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, said on Thursday: "We have been working with Kenya to monitor their progress towards staging the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup for some time, with visits to the locations earmarked for matches and regular reports to the ICC Board.
"Regrettably, the conclusion reached was that the amount of work still to be done to get many of the venues ready was such that retaining Kenya as a host represented too great a risk to the successful staging of the event."
Lorgat, a South African, added:" With just eight months to go before the scheduled start, we could not proceed on the basis of hoping that everything would be ready next February."
"The ICC U19 Cricket World Cup is the highest profile event in the ICC’s development calendar," Lorgat explained.
"Coverage of the matches is broadcast all around the world and it is a recognised stepping stone for players to graduate to full international level.
"By way of examples, since the latest edition of the tournament, in Malaysia in February/March last year, India’s Virat Kohli, Wayne Parnell of South Africa and New Zealand’s Tim Southee have all gone on to play for their countries.
"We hope Kenya will be able to stage ICC events in the future and we are grateful to New Zealand Cricket for its offer to stage the tournament," Lorgat said. "It did so successfully in 2002 and we look forward to it doing so again in 2010."