Ssesaazi keen to bat more atop

Thursday September 16 2021
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Simon Ssesaazi.

By Darren Allan Kyeyune

Top-level cricket today doesn’t offer any room for mediocrity. Every batsman from number one to 11 must be able to score runs and innings for a team to casually reach 250 runs and more at international engagements.

The men’s team coach Laurence Mahatlane has equally raised the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for anyone to be part of his team.

Now with Roger Mukasa having a break, Simon Ssesaazi is working hard to come out of the shadow in the top-order batsmen rankings. 

The 25-year-old is hoping to have space on the Cricket Cranes’ plane to Rwanda’s capital Kigali next month at the ICC Africa Sub-Regional Twenty20 Qualifiers.

The left-hand opener is gaining some good momentum after stroking a match-winning knock of 62 runs off 53 balls for an eight-wicket victory over Nigeria in the Pearl of Africa Twenty20 International Tri-Series at Entebbe on Monday.

“I am just being patient and following the process and also doing the small things right that’s what has made me perform,” said a happy Ssesaazi. 

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This marked a sweet T20 international debut for lad. In pursuit of a target of 124 runs after Nigeria had been stopped at 123-8 by Charles Waiswa (2/13) and Henry Ssenyondo (3/15), Uganda nicked some history.

Ssesaazi and his fellow opener Islam (39 off 40) produced a 103-run stand in 15.1 overs for the first wicket, the biggest partnership ever by a Ugandan batting pair in a T20 international, a good vibe ahead of the journey to Kigali. 

Ssesaazi, who made six boundaries and three sixes, is batting strongly against litany of options for Mahatlane like Islam, Arnold Otwani, an absent Mukasa, Ronak Patel, Dinesh Nakrani among others. 

He did not have many flashes of brilliance on the crease in the recent 50-Over Derby Trophy against Kenya but, he is intent on delivering more.

“Yeah, it was so hard at first (Trophy Series) because I was a bit nervous but I had to come back strong in the second one and I just remembered the small things I have been doing all along.

“I have been performing in local matches and so, I focused on those moments that made me confident enough to come back and perform again.”

Against a really competitive pool of top-order players, Ssesaazi wants to do even more when the Cranes face Nigeria this morning in Entebbe to wrap up the round-robin format.

“I will make sure I use all the chances I get to show everyone that I am capable of playing for the nation and that I can win trophies for the country,” he added. 

Interim captain Deus Muhumuza, who replaced Brian Masaba after he suffered a hamstring, insists the team still has a long way and none can rest on their laurels.

“There is a lot more to work on especially when it comes to consistency in all the aspects, but the progress is impressive,” said the all-rounder.

TODAY’S FIXTURE 
Nigeria     VS     Uganda
10am 

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