What you need to know:
- Mukasa, who has had a hectic work schedule, wasn’t named for the WCCLB task but in facing Kaduna, the 33-year-old has room to sharpen his blade atop the batting order
Former national captain Roger Mukasa will get a chance to get some competitive action when Uganda’s select XI takes on visiting Nigeria state Kaduna over the Twenty20 code this week.
The second round of the ICC World Cup Challenge League B (WCCLB) on home soil from June 14-28 may be Uganda’s next big assignment but the Cricket Cranes have a bumper spell ahead.
Even after coach Laurence Mahatlane named his final 14-man squad a month before the aforementioned event, the South African tactician and team manager Jackson Kavuma emphasized the importance of on-going Kaduna’s visit.
Mukasa, who has had a hectic work schedule, wasn’t named for the WCCLB task but in facing Kaduna, the 33-year-old has room to sharpen his blade atop the batting order.
“We have so many tournaments coming up and we are quite a thin squad with a group of 30-40 people,” said Kavuma.
The Cranes will play the ICC Global Twenty20 World Cup Qualifier B in Zimbabwe from July 11-17 before heading to Jersey for the WCCLB third round from August 2-15.
“So the guys in the Kaduna Series are also being given an opportunity to show what they can bring to the table so they can compete with the guys going to play in the Challenge League.”
The former Tornado Bee batsman Mukasa has not played a major tournament for Uganda since the Cranes were white-washed 5-0 during the Tour of Namibia at the start of last year.
And Kaduna has played three matches over the past week and lost all in Kamengo, Entebbe and Lugogo over the limited-overs’ format.
And whereas the challenge is honestly light for the hosts, it is offering match practice for key players like Emmanuel Hasahya, Ronak Patel and Frank Akankwasa who will be busy next month.
“We have a lot of cricket coming up in the next six months and it’s important for everyone to be ready for any opportunities that might arise,” Mahatlane noted.
On Friday, Hasahya warmed up by stroking 48 runs off 106 balls as Uganda's Select XI beat Kaduna by four wickets at Lugogo.
Mahatlane and his technical team have tricky deadlines to submit squads for the forthcoming ICC events, which again, intensifies the need for the tests from Kaduna.
“By June 9, we should have the team for Zimbabwe. The tournament is for July so you are supposed to submit a team a month before,” Kavuma stated.
The same cluster of players facing Kaduna at the moment like Arnold Otwani, Zephaniah Arinaitwe, Siraj Nsubuga, Alphesh Ramjani, former U19 captain Pascal Murungi and Gerald Mubiru may be embedded in the Select Side that will compete against Bermuda, Italy, Jersey and Hong Kong who plan to arrive in Uganda for warm-up matches early next month.
“There are a lot of permutations going on. The other deadline is for Jersey means you’re supposed to submit your team on July 2 which is a month before. In between now up to July 2, teams are going to be shared. It is not just a purpose of playing but also to monitor the guys,” he added.
For now, Mukasa has two T20 matches; in Entebbe today and at Lugogo on Wednesday to remind Mahatlane and the cricket fraternity of his prowess.
KADUNA STATE VISIT TO UGANDA
MONDAY FIXTURE AT ENTEBBE
3pm: Kaduna State vs. Uganda (T20)
Kaduna State 169/10 Uganda Select XI 171/6
(Uganda Select XI won by 4 wickets)
Uganda Select XI 215/6 Kaduna State 138/10
(Uganda Select XI won by 77 runs)
Kaduna State 156/10 Ceylon Lions 159/6
(Ceylon Lions CC won by 4 wickets)