Achelam bow among expected changes for Cranes

Achellam will get the gloves. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO 

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Ringing Changes. Coach Sharma will be eyeing fresh tactics as Uganda aims to finish strong in their final Group C match against a wounded New Zealand side

As Uganda gears up for their final Group C fixture against New Zealand in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, coach Abhay Sharma is expected to implement significant changes to the squad.

The match, scheduled for the early hours of June 15 at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in San Fernando, represents a critical juncture for Uganda's campaign.

Achelam waits

One of the most anticipated changes is the inclusion of wicketkeeper-batsman Fred Achelam. Achelam, the only player from Uganda's 15-man squad yet to feature, could make his bow. This strategic move will relieve left-handed opening batsman Simon Ssesazi of wicket-keeping duties, allowing him to focus solely on batting. Ssesazi has struggled to find form managing just nine runs thus far and yet he is the Cricket Cranes leading runs scorer in T20Is with 2081.

Top-order batter Ronak Patel and paceman Bilal Hassun, who underperformed in the opening game against Afghanistan, are also hopeful for another chance. Their experience and skills could make a difference. Additionally, slow left-arm orthodox bowler Henry Ssenyondo, who was strategically rested in favour of off-spinner Frank Nsubuga to counter Papua New Guinea's left-handers, will be itching to reclaim his spot for this decisive match against New Zealand.

“This is such a beautiful country with several facilities. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t allowed us to have intensive training sessions. But we’ve made do with what we can control and hopefully we will put up a better batting show against the Black Caps,” said coach Sharma.

Weather challenges

The weather in Port of Spain has posed significant challenges, with a mix of brief sunshine and predominantly cold, wet conditions disrupting the team’s training schedule.

Despite these setbacks, the team has shown resilience.

They adapted by utilising indoor facilities, including the Bryan Davis Indoor Cricket Centre at Queen's Park Oval, and a bronco practice session at the Sir Frank Worrell Oval at the University of West Indies.

So far, Uganda has won one match against Papua New Guinea by three wickets but suffered heavy defeats to West Indies and Afghanistan. The match against New Zealand will be a true test of Uganda’s adaptability and resilience, as they aim to score some runs, finally.

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024

Next Fixture – June 15, 3:30 AM (EAT)

New Zealand vs. Uganda, Brian Lara Cricket Academy, San Fernando