BY INNOCENT NDAWULA
Nov 2: Official Flag-off
Nov 3: Farewell Dinner
Nov 4: Teams Flies Out To Muscat
Nov 5: Team Arrives
Nov 6: Team Training
Nov 7: Trial/Warm-Up Match
Nov 8: Practice & Team Managers/Captains Meeting
Nov 9: Uganda vs. Denmark, OC Turf 2
Nov 10: USA vs. Uganda, OC Turf 1
Nov 11: Reserve Day
Nov 13: Uganda vs. Kenya, OC Turf 2
Nov 14: Reserve Day
Nov 15: Singapore vs. Uganda, OC Turf 1
Nov 17: Reserve Day
Nov 19: Oman vs. Uganda, OC Turf 2
Nov 20: Reserve Day
Nov 21: Team Departure
ABOUT PARTICIPATING TEAMS
Oman (5th in 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Two)
Kenya (6th in 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Two)
Singapore (3rd in 2017 ICC World Cricket League Division Three)
USA (4th in 2017 ICC World Cricket League Division Three)
Uganda (1st in 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Four)
Denmark (2nd in 2018 ICC World Cricket League Division Four)
Batsman-cum-wicketkeeper Arnold Otwani was the only surprise selection as coach Steve Tikolo and the Selectors Panel announced the 14-man squad that will represent Uganda at the hugely-awaited International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III from November 4-21 in Muscat, Oman.
In an exercise that should have left the Selectors Panel with a justifiable migraine, Otwani replaces Fred Achelam in the final squad baptised by selector Richard Okia, who read out the names to the provisional side after training earlier this week at Kyambogo Oval, as the ‘Chosen Ones’.
Okia, a former national opening bowler who made his debut at the ICC Trophy in Canada 2001, told Cricket Uganda that although the final squad didn’t have many surprises, it had been tough to put together.
“Every selector had reasons for the inclusion of a certain player X and omission of player Z,” explained Okia, who retired from national duty a couple of years ago - having turned around his career into a batting all-rounder then.
“The coach had an input, too, and together we came up with these names who we believe will keep the national flag afloat. The selected guys have been playing well in the trials, taken instructions from the coaches at practice well and shown unwavering commitment to the cause.
“Overall they’ve been very disciplined which is a key factor we look at as selectors. We would have loved to pick more players but unfortunately we can only name 14. We as selectors are full of faith they will deliver.”
Otwani, 23, last played for Uganda at the Cricket Builds Hope Tournament in Rwanda where captain Roger Mukasa inspired the Cricket Cranes to victory.
Consolation For Achelam
Achelam misses out but will take consolation from a reserve role alongside experienced paceman Emmanuel Isaneez. Quick analysis of the announced side shows that the selectors have avoided tinkering and pushing any panic button; as they opted to go with the tried and tested crop.
Apart from Otwani, there are only two new faces in left-hander Dinesh Kumar Nakrani and burly Ronak Patel, who weren’t part of the side that won honours at the ICC WCL Division IV showpiece in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia earlier this year in May.
But both Nakrani and Patel played an integral part as Uganda made the cut from the ICC World Twenty20 Africa ‘B’ Qualifier at Gahanga Stadium in July this year.
Nakrani was also one of the shinning lights as Uganda made a fist of it at the Africa T20 Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa last month where the team also played a series of Limited Overs build-up matches with Kwazulu Natal Inland.
Batsman Roger Mukasa retains his mantle as team captain alongside mainstay vice-captain Brian Masaba, who was picked as an All-Rounder.
“The team is solid,” said skipper Mukasa. “We just need everyone in the side to execute their roles. We also ask the fans to continue supporting us. They keep us going. We are confident we will do well.”
Solid on paper and full of capability, the Cricket Cranes will seek quick adaptability by travelling to Oman on November 4 - four days before their opening rubber against Denmark.
Notably missing from the named squad is multi-talented and live-wire batsman Zephaniah Arinaitwe, who is in Senior Six and has ‘A’ Level examinations to write at St John Secondary School in Mukono.
The purists will be pleased that veteran Frank Nsubuga is in alongside fans favorites Hamu Kayondo, Riazat Ali Shah, Bilal Hassun and Deus Muhumuza.
Parsimonious Henry Ssenyondo, natural wicket-taker Irfan Mohammed Afridi are among the spin options whereas the pace-bowling attack includes Waiswa namesakes; leftie Charles and right-hander Kenneth, who is also expected to contribute winning cameos with the bat.
Cricket Cranes Team For ICC WCL Division III In Oman
- Roger Mukasa Captain (Batsman)
- Arnold Otwani (Batsman/Wicketkeeper)
- Hamu Kayondo (Batsman)
- Ronak Patel (Batsman)
- Dinesh Nakrani (All Rounder)
- Riazat Ali Shah (All Rounder)
- Deus Muhumuza (All Rounder)
- Irfan Mohammed (Bowler)
- Charles Waiswa (Bowler)
- Frank Nsubuga (Bowler)
- Bilal Hassun (Bowler)
- Henry Ssenyondo (Bowler)
- Brian Masaba Vice-captain (All Rounder)
- Kenneth Waiswa (All Rounder)
- Emmanuel Isaneez (Bowler)
- Fred Achelam (Batsman/Wkt)