Davis Turinawe, the Cricket Cranes interim coach, is confident that Uganda Cricket Association (UCA)’s decision to take the team to Qatar and India for build-up tours will reap big dividends ahead of the looming action-packed international season.
This year will see Uganda compete in the Africa T20 Cup slated for March 20-28 in Nairobi, Kenya as well as the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers slated for April 25 – May 4 at venue to be confirmed later. Uganda are also lined up to host the second leg of the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B slated from July 27 – August 5 in Kampala.
Today, Turinawe leads the student-packed side to Qatar and India for an 11-match tour series to help the Cricket Cranes not only polish their skill levels but also keep them in a competitive atmosphere.
“That’s the reason the selectors picked no less than eight debutants for the tour,” Turinawe, who is taking over from Kenyan legend Steve Tikolo who opted not to renew his contract, said while fielding questions from the full gallery of journalists at the flag-off held on Friday outside the MTN Arena in Lugogo.
The former national wicketkeeper cum batsman was bringing to light that UCA was making the future certain whereas keeping a few seniors in the mix to give the young guns guidance to cut their teeth on the international scene.
“You cannot throw the youngsters into the dungeon of international cricket with 11 games on card without guidance. That is the reason the travelling squads are a good mixture of seasoned campaigners and rookies with bubbly enthusiasm.”
Aziz Damani’s top order batsman Saud Islam gets his debut call alongside Baby Cricket Cranes (U-19 national side) graduates led by former captain Frank Akankwasa. Others are Jonathan Kizza, Calvin Watuwa, Trevor Bukenya, Robinson Obuya, Cyrus Kakuru and left-arm spinner Gerald Mubiru.
While in Doha, the team will play a five-match Bilateral Series with Qatar with the three T20 matches having already been approved by ICC as T20 internationals – which gives the team an opportunity to improve on its current 35th placing in world ranking.
From Qatar, the team will the proceed to Saphale, Mumbai on February 16 for two 40-over matches before they head to Sanjay Farm’s Param Veer Cricket Academy in Chikhli, South Gujarat on February 20 for four more matches before returning home on 26th February.
Turinawe will be assisted by Jackson Ogwang. Brian Mark Masaba will captain the side with Arnold Otwani continuing in his vice-captaincy role.
COMBINED TEAM TO QATAR & INDIA:
1. Brian Mark Masaba (captain) 2. Arnold Otwani (vice captain) 3. Roger Mukasa 4. Charles Waiswa 5. Kenneth Waiswa 6. Saud Islam 7. Henry Ssenyondo 8. Fred Achelam 9. Frank Nsubuga 10. Richard Agamire 11. Deus Muhumuza 12. Trevor Bukenya 13. Zephaniah Arinaitwe 14. Frank Akankwasa. 15. Rogers Olipa 16. Steven Wabwose 17. Robinson Obuya 18. Cyrus Kakuru 19. Gerald Mubiru 20. Calvin Watuwa 21. Jonathan Kizza.