Cricket Cranes want winning culture

 All-rounder Dinesh Nakrani congratulates paceman Bilal Hassun on prizing out a wicket in the placement playoff semifinal against Jersey in July . PHOTO/COURTESY 

What you need to know:

All-rounder Kenneth Waiswa has a task of anchoring the innings or arresting trouble at number three and boosting the strike rate is a role that may push Riazat Ali Shah to bat at five or even higher. 

The cup of national cricket teams’ activity is overflowing at the moment but senior men’s team coach Laurence Mahatlane loves it. The more cricket on offer, the better players get. 

The ICC Africa Men’s Twenty20 Cup will bowl off this morning in Gauteng, South Africa with the Cricket Cranes seeking to top the honours at the eight-nation tournament. 

Team Uganda will hope to put the disappointment of the failure to make it to the two forthcoming T20 and ODI World Cup tourneys by staging some spotless cricket. 

“It is a preparation for the T20 World Cup Qualifiers early next year and also an opportunity to look at a few other players and see what they bring,” skipper Brian Masaba said after the team arrived in the Rainbow Nation on Tuesday. 

Masaba in particular is back having missed Uganda’s trip to Jersey last month for the ICC World Cup Challenge League B leg three due to a broken finger. 

The all-rounder is one of the five changes made by Mahatlane and his assistant Jackson Ogwang from the team that played in Jersey. 

Alphesh Ramjani and, the youngster trio of Pascal Murungi, Ismail Munir and Joseph Baguma who played at the ICC U19 World Cup in West Indies at the start of the year, are now set for international T20 debuts. 

These changes are in place of Arnold Otwani, Frank Akankwasa, Dinesh Nakrani and Ronak Patel with hope that Uganda gets it right when it opens its quest for glory against Botswana in a Group A affair at Willowmoore Park in Benoni this morning. 

“We want to hit the ground running. It’s important that we build a winning culture right from the get go,” Masaba said. 

The absence of Ronak means Ramjani could bat at number four with Masaba and in-form left-hander Simon Ssesaazi expected to open the batting. 

All-rounder Kenneth Waiswa has a task of anchoring the innings or arresting trouble at number three and boosting the strike rate is a role that may push Riazat Ali Shah to bat at five or even higher. 

In case that security is breached by opposition bowling, then Deus Muhumuza, wicket-keeper Fred Achellam and possibly former U-19 skipper Pascal Murungi will have to dig deeper. 

With the ball, Ramjani’s selection gives Masaba an option for four left-arm spin overs to back up veteran Frank Nsubuga but more importantly chinnaman Henry Ssenyondo. 

“Ramjani is a great addition, it will be interesting to see how he fares on the international stage,” Masaba added. 

It further means Shah can concentrate on batting more at this event while young pace men Juma Miyagi or Cosmas Kyewuta take it to Botswana’s top batters such as Inzimamul Master. 

Another Indian-born player in leg break googly Dhruv Maisuria can create chaos with the ball. 

TEAM UGANDA’S PROBABLE XI: Simon Sessazi, Brian Masaba (Captain), Kenneth Waiswa, Alpesh Ramjani, Riazat Ali Shah, Deus Muhumuza, Fred Achellam (Wicket-keeper), Pascal Murungi, Frank Nsubuga, Juma Miyagi, Henry Ssenyondo

12th man: Ismail Munir, Other Squad players: Cosmas Kyewuta, Joseph Baguma


Team Officials: Laurence Mahatlane (Head Coach), Jackson Ogwang (Assistant Coach), Shamim Nassali (Physiotherapist), Steven Tusiime (Analyst), Jackson Kavuma (Team Manager)


ICC AFRICA MEN’S T20 CUP

TOURNAMENT NOTEBOOK

Dates: September 16-23

Administrator(s): Africa Cricket Association

Cricket format: Twenty20 International

Tournament format(s): Group stage, knock-outs

Host(s): Benoni, Gauteng, South Africa

Venue: Willowmoore Park

Participants: 8

Matches: 13

POOLS

Group A: Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda

Group B: Botswana, Kenya, Malawi and Mozambique


TODAY’S FIXTURES - IN GAUTENG

10:30am: Botswana vs. Uganda

3pm: Cameroon vs. Malawi


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