A rollercoaster of activity is lined-up as the senior men’s national cricket team bids to qualify for the forthcoming ICC World Cup tournaments over the Twenty20 and 50-Over formats.
Coach Laurence Mahatlane knew how it would turn out. The Cricket Cranes have played several trial games and now, before hosting five other countries for the second round of ICC World Challenge League (WCL) B in June, they will fly out tomorrow for a warm-up tour in Namibia.
That could be a measure to determine the areas to polish before the June do and the subsequent ICC Global T20 Qualifiers in Zimbabwe and thereafter, a third leg of the WCL away in Jersey come September.
“It’s going to be a defining year that’s why we are putting in all our energies,” stated Uganda Cricket Association CEO Martin Ondeko before the team was flagged off by National Council of Sports (NCS) official Sarah Chelangat in company of Cricket Cranes’ sponsor Plascon Brand Manager Daniel Kayongo at Lugogo yesterday.
Uganda toured Namibia last April and lost the Series 5-0 over two 50-Over matches and three T20 internationals.
Mahatlane’s team, however, went on to conquer the continent over the T20 code and now with an annual cash offer of Shs70m from Plascon, there is some confidence and desire for revenge. “As a group, we are excited for this opportunity,” said the South African tactician Mahatlane. “As always, part of what is important is growth.”
Mahatlane has made three changes from the team that last competed abroad - at the ICC Africa Regional T20 Finals in Kigali, Rwanda last November - leaving out Saud Islam, Ronak Patel and Bilal Hassun for varying reasons.
Compared with the last trip to Windhoek, Mahatlane has made six changes; bringing in debutants Juma Miyagi and Emmanuel Hasahya, captain Brian Masaba who was away due to injury. Then Deus Muhumuza, too, missed because of academic obligations while Richard Agamire and Simon Ssesazi have worked hard to earn their slots.
The sextet replaces Trevor Bukenya, Islam, Hamu Kayondo, Roger Mukasa, Ronak and Jonathan Ssebanja who were played in Namibia last April.
“When I came to Uganda, one of the things I promised was how we would grow in depth. Juma Miyagi has shown. Hasahya has really worked hard and was one of the big surprises when I brought him in and it is one of the exciting things to see him on the international stage.
“Namibia have already qualified for the October World Cup (T20) in Australia, so hopefully we can learn a bit from them,” Mahatlane added.