What you need to know:
- He’s Back. There were roars of ‘He’s Back – Terminator Style,’ on one of the leading local cricket Whatsapp groups when Uganda Cricket Association Communications Manager Musali shared the final squad of 14 that will travel to Zimbabwe this weekend.
Roger Mukasa has only been away from international action for less than two years, but for many in the local cricketing fraternity it feels like a lifetime.
There were roars of ‘He’s Back – Terminator Style,’ on one of the leading local cricket Whatsapp groups when Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) Communications Manager Denis Musali shared the final squad of 14 that will travel to Zimbabwe for the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifier in Bulawayo this weekend.
The former Cricket Cranes captain last played for the national team in 2021 during that Tour of Namibia when Uganda suffered a 5-0 whitewash to the Richelieu Eagles in Windhoek and he comes into the squad on the back of very strong performances in the National Trials as a replacement for vice captain Deus Muhumuza, who was declared unfit for the rigours of international T20 tournament cricket, after suffering a side-strain on June 17 against Jersey at Lugogo.
“I am happy to be back to play for my country,” said the 33-year-old opening batsman who can chip in some tidy off-spin overs whenever called into action.
“I enjoy playing for the jersey. And whereas I know I have a large fan base; it is time for me to work and improve on my numbers. I will not put myself under any pressure. I will just play to my strengths, do what is best for the team and if I do it well then, I know I will give joy to the fans.”
Statistics don’t lie
Mukasa’s last ICC event was in Muscat, Oman when Uganda completed a Grand Slam of five wins out of as many matches to go top of the ICC Cricket World Cup (CWC) Challenge League B in December 2019. Then Mukasa scored a total of 66 runs with a Highest Score of 19 and average of 13.20 from five innings.
From July 11-18 in Bulawayo, the man who captained the national side for two years (2017-2019), will have to earn his stripes all over again against elite opposition in Hong Kong, Papua New Guinea and Netherlands. Mukasa’s numbers both in T20 & T20Is show he has played a combined total of 45 innings, scored 543 runs with only one-half century of 66 and a below par batting average of less than 12 runs per innings - as per his true potential.
“Mukasa comes in to bolster our top order and replaces Muhumuza who didn’t pass his fitness test. Bilal Hassun gives us depth in bowling at the death. The wickets in Bulawayo have also been taking spin and Roger can bowl some spinners, too. Five spinners in the squad give us depth in bowling as our batting has been consistent. The squad is full of guys that got us here,” coach Laurence Mahatlane said of the affable player nicknamed Papa.
The event will feature eight nations with the top two sides from each group advancing to the semi-finals.The two finalists will qualify for this year’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.
ICC T20 WORLD CUP GLOBAL QUALIFIER
Group A: Jersey, Singapore, United States of America and Zimbabwe
Group B: Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong and Uganda
UGANDA’S GAMES IN ZIMBABWE
July 11: Hong Kong vs. Uganda
2pm, Bulawayo Athletic Club
July 12: Papua New Guinea vs. Uganda
2pm, Bulawayo Athletic Club
July 14: Netherlands vs. Uganda
10am, Queens Sports Club
SQUAD TO ZIMBABWE
1. Brian Masaba (captain), 2. Roger Mukasa, 3. Simon Ssesazi, 4. Ronak Patel, 5. Dinesh Nakrani, 6. Riazat Ali Shah, 7. Fred Achelam, 8. Frank Akankwasa, 9. Frank Nsubuga, 10. Henry Ssenyondo, 11. Juma Miyaji, 12. Cosmas Kyewuta, 13. Bilal Hassun 14. Kenneth Waiswa