Emmanuel Isaneez has been off the scene since 2010. His return to the national fold proper comes after 10 years after he made the final 14-man team that will represent Uganda at the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup Africa Finals that bowl off on Sunday.
The pace bowler had last played at the 2009-10 ICC Intercontinental Cup. “I kept away from the national team because of my own personal issues,” Isaneez opened up to Daily Monitor in an interview this week.
“A while later, when I started coaching, I discovered my own philosophy in the game as both a player and coach so I picked double interest for a return,” he narrated.
During his semi-retirement, Isaneez, with an ICC Level II coaching badge, began to tutor youngsters at St James’ SS in Jinja and Jinja SS in 2011 and later Busoga College Mwiri but also kept playing club cricket.
In 2017, Isaneez received a call-up to the national team but was only a reserve for the ICC World Cricket League Division Three and played some friendlies against Kenya and Qatar in 2016.
And now he is in coach Steve Tikolo’s side that will jostle for the top two places against Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, Ghana and Nigeria from May 17-25. While Isaneez was away, the Cricket Cranes have slackened in terms of ICC rankings but he is back and hopes his pace delivers enough to spark the team. “Behind scenes, I have been working on my game and making sure I get the performance rate high to a level needed, its been tough trying to catch up as you need to double work for your place in the team,” said the 32-year-old. “Personally, I can say the team will be solid when everyone performs a given role to his best. With my seniority as a bowler, I will try my best and bowl to the team plans and play my role for the team’s benefit.”
But of course, there are those who doubted Isaneez’s position on the current team which is inevitable as national team selection offers much debate.
“I don’t believe in the world without criticism,” Isaneez reacted to his doubters.
“Its how much I can perform under pressure that will make me a complete player. I have put in a lot of hours in practice behind the scenes, studied the game and found my philosophy that will benefit the team I believe if executed well.”