Uganda Cricket Association (UCA)’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) bellies optimism that such build-up tours to the sub continent augur well for the Cricket Cranes.
For once, Ondeko forewent the comfort of his air-conditioned office and made the voyage to India for a first-hand experience to what his players go through whenever they’re away in alien conditions. And the former national player has taken in everything that has come his way - from searing hot conditions, mix of cultures, language barrier and vegetarian dishes - in good faith.
The cricket on wickets that offer palpable assistance to the bowlers, too, has been tough and victories haven’t trickled in as desired for his youthful side that is packed with U-19 graduates and U-23 players.
But despite the indifferent results, Ondeko has refused to point a finger and is instead quick to point out the positives from 16-day long tour.
“We are grateful to Sanjay Farm for enabling our third successive tour in three years,” stated Ondeko, a wicketkeeper-cum-opening batsman in his heyday.
Larger pool for Cranes
“This time round, we played two top quality games against Mumbai Premier League sides in Saphale, Maharashtra and the games in Chikhli have been tougher than before. This visit has helped several young players get an opportunity to play under a competitive environment. This is in line with our objective of having a larger pool players for the national team."
“We are definitely the winners of this tour because we leave with a better unit of players. Such continued support from Sanjay Farm and its partners will surely help us attain our ultimate goal of getting One Day International (ODI) status in 2023.”
Ondeko alongside team manager Jackson Kavuma have also been at the helm of Uganda’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Rotary works on the tour with visits to a handful of primary schools and hospitals that facilitate the tour - something will only make this tour a given for many more years.
Uganda signed off with a 77-run loss to Surat District batting powerhouse Sterling Generators Silvassa XI - the only team with bragging lights of not having lost to the Cricket Cranes over the three visits.
But there was a bright spot yesterday as vice captain Arnold Otwani scored 67 off 94 - his third half century of the tour to finish with a remarkable aggregate of 291 runs at an average of 36 runs from nine outings.