Cricket Cranes savour elite Param Veer Academy session

Tuesday February 25 2020

Still Learning: The Cricket Cranes players flex

Still Learning: The Cricket Cranes players flex their muscles with coach Mahesh Hatkar (C) at the end of the two-hour training session at Param Veer Cricket Academy in Chikhli yesterday Inset, Param Veer Academy owner Swetal Desai . PHOTOS BY INNOCENT NDAWULA 

By Innocent Ndawula

It is easy to make a conclusion that the Cricket Cranes have been darlings of the masses everywhere they have played on this intense 16-day Tour of Qatar and India.

With many not having heard about Uganda’s cricketing potential, the style of play exhibited by the Cricket Cranes has been soft on the eye; full of energy and passionate.

And with Uganda continuing to make a name for its self as a side with high levels of discipline and humility off the oval, such attributes have only helped them win over several admirers from different walks of life.

Whereas the natives have kept coming in droves to watch the youthful outfit strut out their stuff, the elite players with Ranji Trophy and State Cricket experience have been quick to offers words of encouragement to the team.

The Indian coaches, too, haven’t sat back to just watch. They have requested to conduct team sessions and one-on-ones with the players. But with the punishing schedule of back-to-back matches, many requests haven’t been possible.

Eager to learn
But when the chance came around on the team’s only day off yesterday, the squad was eager to chip in a session with England Cricket Board (ECB) Level II coach Mahesh Hatkar, when staying indoors to cool off was an option. “The guys are eager to learn,” said Hatkar, previously a coach at the Jonty Rhodes Coaching Camp and Gary Kirsten Academy in Pune, India after the two-hour session at the Swetal Desai’s Param Veer Cricket Academy in Chikhli.

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“The guys have good energy levels unlike many teams I have worked with before. But my only observation from the games is that the guys have a mental block that has to be relieved.

“But with more hard work and exposure, the block will be overcome. They have to think the game too and the home board should also come in with help in terms of bringing a sports psychologist into the set-up.”

African experience
Hatkar, who has some experience of coaching African nations in 2017 (Botswana and Sierra Leone), was a busy body during the session as he initiated new drills into Uganda’s training routine and urged the players to always think the game.

“The team must learn how to work hard in such tough conditions in India where there are many strange wickets. I am also grateful to Swetal and Omtex’s Vijay Patel who have given me this chance to show what I can do,” added Hatkar, after the session that was attended by top journalists from Mumbai and a filming crew from Omtex Sports.

The Mumbai-based tactician is currently seeking employment on a permanent basis and his session with Uganda, watched by CEO Martin Ondeko, will not hurt his reputation in any way.

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