Like most other cricket playing countries, it was the British settlers who introduced the Kenyans to cricket. Kenya's presence at the World Cups started from the first edition in 1975 itself as East Africa was one of two non-test teams invited to the tournament. Kenya provided half of the fourteen man squad for the tournament.
Long considered the strongest part of the East Africa team, Kenya broke away in 1981 and joined the ICC in their own right as an associate member, shortly after a tour of Zimbabwe in 1980/81. The 1994 ICC Trophy was hosted by Kenya and they finished as runners-up to the UAE, thus qualifying for the 1996 World Cup .
Playing in the World Cup
, which was to bring Kenyan cricket to a much wider audience, and catapult them into the spotlight. In what at the time was described as the most startling upsets in the history of the World Cup, Kenya bowled out the West Indies for just 93 and won by 73 runs. Following their World Cup performance, Kenya were given full ODI status by the ICC, and hosted a quadrangular tournament against Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka in September/October 1996.
In the 1999 World Cup itself they lost all their matches to get knocked out, and followed that by losing every match in a quadrangular event hosted in Nairobi.
However, every now and then Kenya kept producing an upset or two, having attained victory against India - twice, Sri Lanka, once other than multiple wins against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
The 2003 Cricket World Cup was to be Kenya's finest moment in international cricket to date. The tournament was to be held in South Africa, with Kenya hosting their two matches against Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Kenya bounced secured a four wicket win over Canada. New Zealand forfeited their match against Kenya in Nairobi due to safety concerns, but Sri Lanka did visit Nairobi and lost by 53 runs. This meant that Kenya had done enough to qualify for the Super Six stage, becoming the first non-test nation to progress beyond the first round of the World Cup. In the Super Six stage, they lost to India and Australia, but beat Zimbabwe by seven wickets, qualifying for the semi-final, where they lost to India by 91 runs.
Kenya's World Cup success was rewarded with a spot in a quadrangular tournament at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, but they lost all three of their games.
Kenya's failure in the above tournament is perhaps indicative of how they failed to capitalise on their World Cup success. Kenya only played two ODIs
in the three years after the Sharjah tournament, against India and Pakistan in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy. Maurice Odumbe, their most influential captain, was banned for match-fixing in August 2004, and a series of strikes by players led to a weakened Kenyan side being eliminated from the inaugural ICC Intercontinental Cup at the semi-final stage by Scotland. By the end of the dispute in 2005, Kenyan cricket had no sponsors and was in virtual international isolation. At that stage the governing body had dissolved internally and Kenyan cricket opportunities were limited and international cricket for them had virtually ceased.
During the 2011 ODI World Cup lost all six of their games, causing Cricket Kenya to announce that it would review the World Cup debacle after the tournament was over. This was the beginning of a series of reforms initiated by the board.
Some of the prominent players to have represented the team are : Rajab Ali, Dipak Chudasama, Hitesh Modi, Ravindu Shah, Steve Tikolo, Kennedy Otieno, Asif Karim, Maurice Odumbe, Tony Suji, Martin Suji, Jimmy Kamande, Collins Obuya.