At the time of writing this piece, the Cricket Cranes were yet to cleave through some ordinary form that had seen the team lose a limited overs game and two T20 internationals on the tour of Qatar. To conclude that the series in the sun-baked Qatari capital of Doha has only served to sketch a punishing portrait of a diminished force would be such a blinkered view.
This does not entirely mean that the Cricket Cranes backroom staff will leave the Persian Gulf with its head held high. The coaches will — if anything — almost certainly be filled with a degree of sadness of hindsight. But above all lessons should be learned.
Much like the backroom staff, Roger Mukasa, Cricket Cranes once-upon-a-time swashbuckling opening bat, will head to the subcontinent knowing that he can do better. Much better.
Mukasa is supposed to be a crisp, bright and gorgeous batsman, rivalling the best. But of recent the weight of his runs has been so minuscule that it has not brought with it a significant success to his name. While there were the odd flashes of brilliance in a few matches played at the West End Park International Cricket Stadium, a much-needed astonishing change of fortune never quite blipped on the radar. At least by Mukasa’s lofty standards.
The 30-year-old will as such head to the subcontinent knowing that his position remains under threat. He will need to play a few crucial innings at what is surely an important stage of his career. Mukasa is undoubtedly mindful of the fact that the explosiveness of fellow openers Saud Islam and Zephaniah Arinaitwe present a dilemma for the selectors. The abundance of talent does not stop there. Arnold Otwani could step up from one-drop. The unflappable Shahzad Kamal Ukani could also be promoted to provide a left-right combination that forces a bowler to change his lines regularly.
Of course there is always the chance that Mukasa will respond brilliantly to the situation he has thrown himself into. If he does not, Cricket Cranes’ backroom staff could toy with the idea of having its former skipper keep wicket and bat low. This could yet be a match-winning formula. It could also give Mukasa back that familiar wide smile and unwavering stare. But above all, having Mukasa keep wicket and bat low could prove to be a win-win since it does not upset the balance of the team. Food for thought, perhaps.