The senior national men’s cricket team was not short of banter and smiles in their coaster on the wet Friday morning as they departed Lugogo for a Fly Emirates flight to Oman for the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League B round 1.
Beginning tomorrow against familiar foes Jersey until December 11, the Cricket Cranes will be embarking on a the first of a three-round tournament in Al Amerat that is a route to the 2023 ICC ODI World Cup in India. The Middle East trip presents a showpiece where Uganda has no room for error in five matches.
“Every game is as important as the last, especially because of the league like format of the competition,” skipper Brian Masaba told this paper before the flag-off at National Council of Sports office in Lugogo. Oman doesn’t offer the Cranes any great memories as it is the place where Uganda came last in the ICC World Cricket League Division Three a year ago.
The Cricket Cranes again missed a ticket to the ICC Global Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier on home soil and after winning a warm-up Series 3-2 in Zimbabwe, there is some optimism.
“The Zimbabwe Tour gave us confidence to try win this tournament,” top-order batsman Dinesh Nakrani said. “We are prepared and also learnt from our mistakes,” he added.
Besides handing Masaba the armband from Roger Mukasa, coaches Steve Tikolo and Jackson Ogwang have made five changes from the team played in May with Bilal Hassun, Kamal Shahzad, Kenneth Waiswa, Ronak Patel and rookie Richard Agamire coming in. Deus Muhumuza (semi-retirement), Hamu Kayondo (injured thumb), Rogers Olipa and Zephaniah Arinaitwe and Emmanuel Isaneez are out.
UGANDA’S SQUAD TO OMAN: Brian Masaba (Captain), Roger Mukasa, Arnold Otwani, Kenneth Waiswa, Dinesh Nakrani, Ronak Patel, Bilal Hassun, Shahzad Kamal, Riazat Ali Shah, Charles Waiswa, Henry Ssenyondo, Frank Nsubuga, Richard Agamire, Fred Achelam.