What you need to know:
- Issue: Cricket Cranes
- Our view: When the emotions subside and the praise dies down, we all have to reflect on the lessons that this gentleman’s game teaches us about who we are as a society.
More than two decades of effort, trial, failure and miniature success bore its biggest fruits as the national cricket team qualified for the 2024 International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 World Cup in USA and West Indies.
For the proud cricket community, often regarded as small, it’s their moment to shine and share a cake so sweet that the saliva will flow for long.
The players have cemented their legacy as some of the true greats of a game that is widely regarded as elitist with its background intertwined with colonialism.
Cricket is a sport that colonial administrators introduced to a few schools where they retained control and influence.
Most of Uganda’s male cricketers in the past came from Busoga College Mwiri and King’s College Budo.
The latter even gave Uganda her first players to make the Cricket World Cup in Mr Sam Walusimbi and the late John Nagenda.
The pair were part of a combined East African team that played at the 1979 edition of the tournament in England.
Even with the growth in excellence that the sport had in the early 2000s, it hardly broke the divide to attract players who didn’t come from those traditional schools.
About two decades ago, Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) made a deliberate campaign to take the sport to the trenches through the slum areas of Naguru and Nakawa.
Those players brought a different perspective to the game, especially resilience and hunger to find a voice they never had.
Unlike the players who saw cricket as an alternative to education, for most of those the sport attracted later on saw it as all they had.
In that time Frank Nsubuga, now 43 and part of the national team for large parts of the past 22 years, became the bridge between the two groups from different ebbs of society.
UCA has even gone further by naturalising some Asian players to add quality to the side.
All-rounders Riazat Ali Shah and Dinesh Nakrani, opening batsman Ronak Patel, and the bowling pair of Bilal Hassun and Alpesh Ramjani have become vital cogs.
In the end, what matters is that everyone is committed to representing Uganda. In fact, no one can trade their current position for any other. This is home.
When the emotions subside and the praise dies down, we all have to reflect on the lessons that this gentleman’s game teaches us about who we are as a society.