Cricket Cranes have no fear for Namibia

Cricket cranes Coach Laurence Mahatlane chats with players during a training workout in Kampala. The Cricket Cranes take on Namibia in the first of the three-match series this afternoon at the Trustco United Cricket Club (UCC) Oval. PHOTO / EDDIE CHICCO

What you need to know:

  • The first of the three-match series bowls off this afternoon at the Trustco United Cricket Club (UCC) Oval and coach Laurence Mahatlane has made sure his youthful brigade is prepared for the battle both mentally and physically.

No one can ever get used to travelling. It decisively breaks down the body and the difference in time zones leaves you playing catch up for at least 48 hours. In sport, and cricket to be particular, two days is all you need to make or break your career as a professional athlete.

Having started the voyage in Entebbe at 9.45pm on Tuesday and only able to check in at the luxurious Safari Court Hotel in Windhoek at 6.30pm yesterday, the 21-man Cricket Cranes contingent will not want to offer any excuses ahead of the Castle Lite Twenty20 Series against Namibia.

The first of the three-match series bowls off this afternoon at the Trustco United Cricket Club (UCC) Oval and coach Laurence Mahatlane has made sure his youthful brigade is prepared for the battle both mentally and physically.

Feel of the turf

Having had prior knowledge that Uganda would not get a practice session at today’s match venue, the South African tactician ensured that the team was driven straight from the Hosea Kutako International Airport to UCC to have a look at the playing wicket, outfield size and direction of the winds.

“It is important for the guys to have a walk around the oval and have a feel of the turf,” said the former South Africa U-19 coach.

“It is a heavy outfield and no one will be lightning quick in the field. It is also a large oval and one side is extremely long. Hopefully the bowlers now have an idea on which end they would like to bowl from and batsmen have seen which end not attempt to go for sixes. This knowledge is important and it will be vital when the series start.”

Despite the tiredness of the team being visible, Mahatlane requested the team to avoid power naps and delay their sleeping until 9pm in a bid to avoid irregularities. Yesterday morning, the team put in a nets session at the Wanderers Cricket Ground with the batsmen looking in good nick and bowlers working hard to find the lengths and variations.


Test of character

“It is going to be a good test of character for us,” said skipper Brian Masaba, who alongside five others; vice-captain Deus Muhumuza (academic obligations), debutants Emmanuel Hasahya and Juma Miyagi, Simon Ssesazi and Fred Achelam missed out on last year’s trip to the desert-nation for varying reasons.

“Namibia have made great strides and matured into big boys on the continent. But we are here to compete and I hope the guys are not overawed by the opposition.”

Uganda were swept 3-0 on the last visit but are fancying their chances to win a couple of matches on this tour and improve their International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings as they prepare for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifier B in Zimbabwe (July 11-17, 2022).

Capricorn Eagles coach Pierre de Bruyn, whose side fresh from an enthralling series with the Irish Wolves, will however not be in a freebie-giving mood against a Ugandan side that is always baying for blood.

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