Suraj Karavadra was all smiles and animated as Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) unveiled him as the new Lady Cricket Cranes coach at Kati Kati Restaurant in Kampala yesterday.
The brief function, graced by National Council of Sports (NCS) and Uganda Olympic Committee (UOC) top honcho Don Rukare, UCA chairman Bashir Badu Ansasiira, CEO Martin Ondeko, as well as board members Paul Kaheru and Ketan Shukla, was full of energy, thanks in no small bit to the Karavadra.
The new gaffer was an enthusiastic accomplice to the day’s proceedings; willing to engage and talk comprehensively on every subject and question thrown at him.
“I can easily familiarise with this country,” said the 29-year-old coach after enduring Kampala’s morning traffic to make it just in the nick of time for the presser.
“I am humbled to be here. I have a history here dating back to the 1900s as my great grandfather resided in East Africa predominantly in Kenya and Tanzania before moving to Uganda,” he said.
“My father was actually born in Jinja and I am happy to be able to give back to the country where he grew up. I can actually speak some Swahili.”
Karavadra cut his teeth as youthful coach in India, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom where he primarily worked with junior and female teams and he will not be treading on new turf when hits the ground running with the Lady Cricket Cranes.
His two-year contract starts in earnest with the Kwibuka Women’s International T20 tournament in Rwanda next month, the Victoria Cup Series in Kampala in August, as well as the ICC Africa T20 Qualifiers due September in Botswana.
The pinnacle of his tenure – something that could win him a contract extension – will be if he can help the 2017 African Queens grab the last berth to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. Already seven spots are taken.
That would be a dream homecoming for Karavadra, who is keen to get the women playing at the highest level – the World Cup.
Push the boundaries
“I want the team to feel inspired, to push boundaries further than ever, and as a team, reach a whole new level of success,” he added.
England, Australia, Barbados, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa literally already have their Airbus tickets to Birmingham.
“I think action speaks louder than words and us at UCA have led the way and possibly the sky will be limit for us,” said chairman Ansasiira on UCA’s motive behind hiring two foreign coaches to handle their two senior national teams; Karavadra (women) and Laurence Mahatlane (men).
Who is Karavadra?
Date of birth: June 23, 1991
Place of Birth: Luton, England
Nationality: British Indian
Favourite Food: Chinese & Sushi
Hidden Talents: A Level 3 in Sports Massage
Languages: Gujarati, Hindi, English, German, Swahili