Uganda’s senior men’s national cricket team (Cricket Cranes) have a hectic 2021 with aspirations on the international stage. And after a dead year hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, the post coronavirus era has found the Cricket Cranes with a lot of catching up to do.
In a bit to make hay, Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) have held the bull by its horns to
ensure that their flagship team is ready for the wars lined up at the different battlefronts.
From training sessions that started soon after the restrictions on the gatherings including
sports were relaxed in October last year with the inaugural Uganda Elite League (UEL), a
provisional squad of less than 36 players have been undergoing drills under strict SOPs.
A total of 36 National Trial Matches; (21 50-over Matches & 15 Twenty20s) have been
played at Lugogo and Entebbe Cricket Oval. Aside being rigorous, they have also been equally exciting with a handful of them going down to the wire.
UCA and coach Laurence Mahatlane also boosted the technical team with the inclusion of a Strength & Conditioning coach in Helen Buteme and a new Uganda A coach in Lawrence
Ssematimba as well as steering a process that has seen 24 players get contracts thus far.
Now UCA have stepped up the preparations a notch further by working their contacts to make certain Uganda’s Tour of Namibia from April 2-9 the Castle Lite Series. The bilateral series has five matches; three Twenty20 Internationals and two 50-over (Limited Over) matches penciled in.
Both countries are preparing for challenging engagements in the next months with the Namibians just seven months away from their T20 World Cup campaign in India, while both countries are preparing for International Cricket Council (ICC) 2022 T20 World Cup qualifying, and are deep into 2023 World Cup pathways events.
Uganda, who have a decisive outing to Jersey this September, are atop of the ICC World Cricket Challenge League B after winning five out five in Oman 2019.
Another dominant show will leave them on the brink of playing One Day Internationals (ODIs).
According to UCA press release, a provisional squad of 19 players and seven officials enters the bio-bubble in Entebbe tomorrow soon after getting the mandatory Covid-19 Testing. There will be another testing on Wednesday before the final 14-man squad and 7 officials flies to Namibia on April 1.
Cricket Namibia have confirmed that the tour matches will be played at the Wanderers
Cricket Ground in Windhoek and streamed live as there will be no fans allowed in the stadium as per the Covid-19 regulations.
The three T20 Internationals will form the core of the series and forthwith have ICC ranking status.
While in Windhoek, Uganda will reside at The Utopia Boutique, a good team-camping residence that is 38km from the Hosea Kutako International Airport and only a four-minute drive from the City Centre.
Ahead of the Namibia meet, Uganda coach Laurence Mahatlane said; “It is an exciting tour as Namibia is where we want to be. It will give us the opportunity to see where we are against an ODI team and what areas we still need to work on.”
Namibia coach Pierre de Bruyn said; “Every match is crucial in building up to the T20 World Cup and allows for us to look at new
combinations and possibly a couple of fringe players. The players trained very hard during
the lockdown period and this is a fantastic opportunity to show off their skills.”
UGANDA’S TOUR TO NAMIBIA ITINERARY
April 2: Arrival in Windhoek
2pm: T20 International
April 4: Rest Day/Training (2-5pm)
10am: T20 International
2pm: T20 International
April 6: Rest Day/Training (2-5pm)
9am: 50-over Match
9am: 50-over Match
April 9: Departure
NB: *All Games & Trainings Will Be Played At Wanderers Cricket Ground/ Turf Nets
Cricket Cranes Squad For Namibia Tour:
Frank Akankwasa, Gerald Mubiru, Trevor Bukenya, Jonathan Ssebanja, Frank Nsubuga,
Simon Ssesazi, Ronak Patel, Fred Achelam, Kenneth Waiswa, Riazat Ali Shah, Cosmas
Kyewuta, Dinesh Nakrani, Henry Ssenyondo, Emmanuel Hasahya, Arnold Otwani (vicecaptain), Brian Masaba (captain), Roger Mukasa, Saud Islam & Hamu Bagenda Kayondo .