A feeling of discontent coincidentally grew within the cricket fraternity on Friday after the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that Uganda will have to wait a little longer to host the second round of World Cup Challenge League (WCCL) B .
This is one of the latest sports events to be postponed following disruptions by the coronavirus pandemic.
Uganda was due to host five other nations from August 3-13 at Lugogo, Kyambogo and Entebbe ovals but the pathway to the 2023 ICC One Day International (ODI) Cricket World Cup (CWC) has been altered. “With the ongoing international travel restrictions and global health concerns still in place and on government and public health authority advice in relation to Covid-19, we have decided in partnership to postpone two further qualifying series which form part of the pathway to the CWC,” said Chris Tetley, ICC Head of Events .
“Series nine of the Men’s CWC League 2 which was to be hosted in Scotland and the second series of Challenge League B due to take place in Uganda have both been impacted,” Tetley went on.
“We will now work with hosts and Members to find a window where they can be safely and practically rescheduled. The ICC’s priority continues to be to protect the well-being of players, coaches, officials, fans and the whole cricket community.”
Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) had spent the past fortnight and months engaging the ICC and so were the other participants; Kenya, Hong Kong, Jersey, Italy and Bermuda. “We saw that coming,” UCA CEO Martin Ondeko told this paper after ICC’s communication.
ICC recently issued a ‘Back to Cricket’ strategy with new safety guidelines for events to be held in a 14-item checklist including government regulation, on and off field protocols, local travel and air travel.
UCA fell short because sport has been suspended by the government since March 18, Entebbe Airport has been shut since March 22 and there are still restrictions on both public and private transport.
“It’s a bit of a pity because our team had built momentum from the previous tournament but understand the circumstances. We shall continue to work with the ICC to come up with suitable hosting dates for the tournament in 2021,” he added. By postponing the event, it means the senior national men’s cricket team’s busy schedule has vanished in thin air months after warm-ups in Qatar and India.
The Cricket Cranes were due to play the Africa T20 Cup around March 20-28 in Kenya, then to the ICC T20 World Cup Sub-Regional Qualifier in South Africa on April 27 - May 3.
And this would have been a precursor the WCCL B and more importantly, time for Steve Tikolo’s successor to fit in.
Cricket Cranes’ players have since March resorted to individual training sessions while being monitored by interim coach Davis Turinawe and assistant Jackson Ogwang.
And postponing WCCL hurts more especially with the momentum they had picked after winning all five matches in the round I played in Oman last November. “We are totally gutted,” skipper Brian Masaba reacted. “We are well-placed on the table and had momentum behind us, plus looking forward to playing at home again,” he said. “The team had gelled well as a unit, too. But nothing to do about, just got to keep our heads down, keep working as hard, so that we are ready when the opportunity comes round again,” added the batting all-rounder.
Team manager Jackson Kavuma was a little calmer. “Safety first,” he said.