Sharma dissects World Cup show

Coach Abhay Sharma. 

What you need to know:

Quick Needs. Coach Sharma underscores Cricket Cranes' journey at the T20 World Cup, emphasising the need for crucial growth areas and the imperative of expanding player numbers for future sustained competitiveness.

Every coach has his way of going about business and certainly new gaffer Abhay Sharma’s paying attention to detail philosophy is different from South African Laurence Mahatlane’s flamboyant inspirational way.

One thing, though, commitment to the Cricket Cranes from both gaffers was and is always evident in their works.

Take Sharma’s simplicity as he’s always the last man to pick a plate to eat, the last to leave the ground after practice, and is always willing to carry a player’s bag. On the 9-hour flight from Barbados to London as Team Uganda returned from the Caribbean, he even offered his much more comfortable seat in First Class to the team’s impressive opening bowler, Cosmas Kyewuta, as a sign of his belief that caring for each other will foster a better and winning culture in the team.

Reflecting on Uganda's debut at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in the West Indies & the USA, Sharma had a mix of pride and determination in his voice. "Our journey to the World Cup was not just about playing cricket but about proving we can belong to this stage and compete consistently given the necessary exposure with time," said the 55-year-old. "Every match was a learning experience, and every challenge we faced only made us stronger."

Tackling each game

The Cricket Cranes faced tough competition, but their spirit remained unbroken. “We played with heart, but we learned the importance of maintaining focus throughout the game,” Sharma reflected after the 125-run loss to Afghanistan “Our bowlers were exceptional, and our fielding was top-notch. This win was a significant milestone for us,” Sharma proudly stated in reference to the historic three-wicket win over Papua New Guinea.

For the massive 134-run loss against the West Indies and nine-wicket defeat to New Zealand, Sharma was positive. “The boys played out of their skins against strong competition. Although we didn’t win, our players showcased their potential and never backed down, especially in the manner they batted in the last match,” Sharma said.

Roger Mukasa struggled with the bat. PHOTO/COURTESY OF ICC MEDIA 

Progress & challenges

Despite the low scores managed by the Ugandans, the team can take heart from their sole victory at the Big Dance’s ninth edition. “The wickets prepared leading to a generally low-scoring tournament. It was a big lesson for our batsmen. They need to learn to improve their skill sets and, more importantly, their mindset on how to build innings in conditions that offer palpable assistance to the bowlers,” noted the 55-year-old coach.

Uganda’s batsmen showed remarkable adjustment and a willingness to spend more time at the crease in the face of adversity with the Black Caps’ quartet of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson and Mitchell Santner asking difficult questions.

Aside from hard work and teamwork, coach Sharma wants the Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) to look after the players and ensure they also take good care of each other in order to grow quality numbers. “In sport, we rise and fall together,” added Sharma who advocated for the reincarnation of a Uganda ‘A’ side – a platform for emerging talent to ensure a steady pipeline of skilled players for the national team. The Indian coach is certainly one who is eager to see Uganda scale the heights in a systematic way.


Results Summary – Uganda

June 4: Uganda vs. Afghanistan

Afghanistan 183/5 Uganda 58/10

Afghanistan won by 125 runs

June 6: Uganda vs. PNG

 PNG 77/10 Uganda 78/7

Uganda won by 3 wickets

June 9: Uganda vs. West Indies

West Indies 173/5 Uganda 39/10

West Indies won by 134 runs.

June 15: Uganda vs. New Zealand

Uganda 40/10 New Zealand 41/1

New Zealand won by 9 wickets