NAIROBI, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Cricket Kenya chairperson Jackie Zehra Janmohamed has resigned after a turbulent period in office during which time the east African nation lost the One Day International (ODI) status.
Janmohamed, who made sporting history in December 2012 by being elected the first female to chair a country cricket board, resigned on Monday citing "personal reasons".
Her resignation which was posted on the CK website on Tuesday came as a total surprise to many cricket followers. Vice Chairman Anil Patel has taken over in an acting capacity.
Janmohamed's choice was a major shift for the 60-year-old male dominated board previously known as Kenya Cricket Association before it transformed into Cricket Kenya in 2006.
Upon being elected, Janmohamed, a lawyer by profession, said she believed she could make a difference, hence her acceptance of the post.
"Cricket has been a part of me since when I was a child. I grew up watching cricket and since there was no women's cricket, I moved to umpiring and then administration," she said during her acceptance speech then.
As a qualified cricket umpire, Janmohamed oversaw the rise of the game from the time Kenya made its debut in the World Cup arena during the 1996 ICC World Cup during which and later made history by becoming the first non-Test country to reach World Cup semi-finals during the 2003 event in South Africa.
Her election as the first woman to head a country board was hailed by the Dubai-based International Cricket Council, which pointed out that the only other top serving female in the cricket circles is Australian Jacquie Hey who is a director on the Board of Cricket Australia.
She immediately embarked on the task of appointing a CEO after the departure of the previous one, Tom Sears, after the expiry of his term.
However, the going got tough for her after Kenya failed to qualify for the 2015 World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand and the worst was to come when Kenya lost the ODI status that was accorded the country in 1997, and in the process denying Kenya a lot of support the country was getting from the ICC.
Recently Janmohamed was in the news for the wrong reason after she sacked former Cricket Kenya CEO Olivier Kobus after claiming that the South African had after all been working in Kenya illegally for the last seven months as he did not have a work permit.
Aasif Karim, former national cricket team captain, hailed Janmohamed's move as a bold one that is in sharp contrast from past administrators who clung to leadership positions even when there were obvious signs that they had failed the test.
"Jackie's move is a statement that there is no need to hang on when one has nothing more to offer. Had such gestures been embraced in the past, sports in general and cricket in particular would be miles ahead," Karim said.
Also welcoming Janmohamed's departure was John Moyi, former Secretary of Nairobi Province Cricket Association, who said "cricket in Kenya is dead and I am happy that Jackie answered to her inner conscience about the futility of being at the helm of an empty shell."
Her successor Anil Patel should have a very full plate, considering that Cricket Kenya does not have a CEO, the East Africa League season is fast approaching and the board is in financial doldrums after the cut in funding from the ICC.