CHIKHLI- Uganda are on their third successive trip to the Sanjay Farm in Chikhli, South Gujarat - India for a series of build-up matches ahead of a tough international calendar.
On their debut appearance in 2018, Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) brought down a full-strength national side to the home of Param Veer Cricket Academy and the Cricket Cranes pulled their weight with a 7-1 series win. From Chikhli then, Uganda went on to boss the Division IV International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
And it such good tidings that have given Ugandan players fond memories of the farm that has literally become their second home.
On the last two tours including this year, UCA have primarily selected emerging players (U-19s & U-23s) that will fill the void left by the current national team stars in the near future. This particular tour with 10 youngsters.
The results on the pitch have been a tale of mixed fortunes but no one cares, more so the philanthropic host Swetal Desai, who insists that his objective has always been to help Uganda cricket develop.
“When I first talked to Uganda’s team manager Jackson Kavuma in 2017, I asked him to bring down the team and promised to take care of them. I didn’t know how I would do it but I made a decision and I am thankful to all my partners that have made it possible,” Swetal said in appreciation of Alipore Hospital, Rangoli Resto, Pankaj Damania, Indasi Lifescience OVT, Quarry Association of Chikhli, Hotel Shilton, Al Murad, Bhumidaya Farm & Nursery and Ankit Mukeshbai Faldu of Chikhli whose partnerships with Sanjay Farm have made Uganda’s visits financially comfortable.
“Uganda are a humble side that are determined to learn. They’re partly the reason why I set up the academy so that they can improve their skills and individual games in a place that has the infrastructure, technology and human resource to coach them.”
Playing ODI matches
“Uganda are here for a third year and it gives me great joy. They have grown into my brothers. But my only business with Uganda is to help them achieve their goal of playing ODIs (One Day Internationals) by the end of 2022. I know this will happen for sure if UCA continue doing the right things.”
Also last year, six youngsters enjoyed an extended six-week boot camp at the academy courtesy of Swetal under the tutelage of Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) certified coaches enroute to the ICC Africa U-19 World Cup Qualifiers in Windhoek, Namibia.
Swetal also earned the moniker of being Uganda’s No.1 supporter and the phrase is true in every sense because the Shiv Venetian proprietor has also made his presence felt at the Cricket Cranes’ international matches like during the successful ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) Challenge League B in Muscat, Oman last December.
UGANDA’S TOUR OF INDIA
Third Leg - Sanjay Farm
Results - Friday’s match
Bharuch DCA XI 149/10
Uganda Select 92/10
Bharuch won by 57 runs