Mahatlane hands Kakuru gloves for EA T20 Series

Mahatlane (L) has made some big calls. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO 

What you need to know:

Cricket Cranes’ coach Laurence Mahatlane and his technical team have had their hands forced and will have two new debutants in the 14-man team that will depart for Kigali next week.


There is a feeling of hangover in the cricket fraternity after the senior men’s national team lifted the Africa Men’s T20 Cup in South Africa in September.

Yet, Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) subscribed to the new East African T20 Series and therefore, the Cricket Cranes will spend the next fortnight in Rwanda’s capital Kigali for this business.

Cricket Cranes’ coach Laurence Mahatlane and his technical team have had their hands forced and will have two new debutants in the 14-man team that will depart for Kigali next week.

Ronald Lutaaya and Cyrus Kakuru will earn senior team debuts and they come in together with a returning Roger Mukasa and pace man Bilal Hassun, the quartet all in place of Riazat Ali Shah, Deus Muhumuza, Fred Achelam and Ismail Munir.

“Our hand has been forced a bit by injuries and family commitments,” Mahatlane explained the changes before the team’s trial match in Lugogo yesterday morning.

“But since day one, I have spoken about building depth and trying to make sure we have three players that can compete for every number. So if we can have a squad of 30 to pick from for the qualifiers, we will be in a very good position,” the South African tactician stated.

Shah and Muhumuza combined for an unbeaten 147-run partnership for the third wicket to beat Tanzania by eight wickets in the Africa T20 Cup final two months ago.

Shah is now unavailable with a finger problem, Muhumuza has just come off a knee surgery while wicket-keeper Achelam is down with a muscle problem.

The latter’s woes have opened room for Kakuru, who kept for Uganda during the ICC U10 World Cup in the West Indies at the start of the year

Meanwhile, Shah’s absence means Mukasa returns to bolster the top order after displaying flashes of brilliance during internal matches since the ICC Global T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe.

Mukasa has made 240 runs in 11 T20 trial matches this year. Meanwhile, Kakuru and Lutaaya both join their colleagues from the U-19 World Cup squad; Pascal Murungi and Joseph Baguma who won the Africa title.

Mahatlane knows these changes bear an effect. “It will have an impact as we keep trying new combinations. Kakuru is the first-choice keeper and we have also used (Simon) Ssesazi and Mukasa during this last year in T20,” he said.

The stage in Rwanda presents a task for Cricket Cranes ahead of the Global T20 World Cup Qualifiers against top guns including Zimbabwe and Namibia early next year.

“We had a very good review as a team post the African T20. Luckily for us, the World Cup was also happening at the same time, so we have looked at world trends and are working on making sure we do not get left behind. So for Rwanda, (we will be) looking at how far we have developed our game,” Mahatlane added.

Uganda will play at most 10 matches including a round-robin phase of three matches against every opponent in Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania.

EAST AFRICAN T20 SERIES

TOURNAMENT DETAILS

Dates: December 11-24

Hosts: Kigali, Rwanda

Venue: Gahanga Stadium

Format: Round-robin

Team Uganda Matches: 10

Participating teams: Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania

TEAM UGANDA FIXTURES

Dec 13: Uganda vs. Tanzania (3pm)

Dec 14: Rwanda vs. Uganda (10:30am)

Dec 15: Kenya vs. Uganda (10:30am)

Dec 16: Uganda vs. Tanzania (10:30am)

Dec 17: Rwanda vs. Uganda (3pm)

Dec 18: Kenya vs. Uganda (3pm)

Dec 20: Uganda vs. Tanzania (3pm)

Dec 21: Uganda vs. Rwanda (10:30am)

Dec 22: Uganda vs. Kenya (10:30am)

Dec 24: 3rd/4th Play Off Final (10:30am)

Dec 25: Final (3pm)

TEAM UGANDA TO RWANDA: Brian Masaba (Captain), Kenneth Waiswa, Simon Ssesazi, Roger Mukasa, Juma Miyagi, Cosmas Kyewuta, Joseph Baguma, Pascal Murungi, Ronald Lutaaya, Cyrus Kakuru, Henry Ssenyondo, Frank Nsubuga, Bilal Hassun, Alpesh Ramjani

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