Cricketers off to Mumbai

Thursday February 15 2018

By Innocent Ndawula

Doha. Disappointed. That is what Kitara coach Tony Sekitto acknowledges ahead of today’s game against Nyamityobora.
When the Cricket Cranes lined up against Qatar in Nairobi September 2016, Uganda was in International Cricket Council (ICC)’s World Cricket League (WCL) Division III whereas Qatar was a Division V nation.
At the end of that Four Nation Quadrangular Series, the ICC rankings mattered little as Qatar annihilated Uganda’s pride with a five and six-wicket win in the respective 50-Over and Twenty20 matches.
Fast forward to this year, Uganda is a Division IV Associate of ICC following the relegation suffered at home in-front of its partisan fans last year whereas Qatar remain in Division V following their last day failure at the meet held in South Africa 2017 to seal promotion to Division IV.
Such scenarios endured by both teams meant that this inaugural and historic tour was going to be a battle beaten ‘two hurting sides’.
And although Qatar just managed to nick the Bilateral Cricket Series 3-2, Uganda have a sackful of positives to build onto once they land in India for the second leg of this build-up tour.
“The guys adapted well,” said Roger Mukasa, the Cricket Cranes captain.
“The conditions were tough. Many had not played under floodlights before and the wickets were playing like true sub-continent turfs. But the way we batted makes me believe we can go on and post better scores. We were not 100% perfect and will have to look to build on the good things we have done here.”
Uganda is preparing for the ICC WCL Division IV showpiece scheduled for Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia from April 28 to May 5 and coach Steve Tikolo believes such international friendly build ups will keep the team in good stead.
“This is the way to go,” said Tikolo, who played in five ICC World Cups for his mother-country Kenya.
“The guys will go away from their comfort zones and then the stage fright that comes when they play a few times at the big stage will go away, too. Playing against fellow internationals will empower them with courage and belief that they can perform consistently at the top level.”