By Denis Musali
Uganda Cricket Association has chosen twelve players to work with national team coach Steve Tikolo as they prepare for the World Challenge League next month. The players have been preparing for the last month under the watchful eye of Head coach Steve Tikolo and his assistants Jackson Ogwang and Michael Ndiko.
After the disappointing warm-up games against Kaduna state early this year, the training squad of 25 was disbanded to allow the coach to focus on a core group. The performance of the 12 players is evaluated on a monthly basis and those below a particular standard are dropped.
The surprise inclusion in the side is young fast bowler Richard Agamire, the quiet bowler made enough noise with his numbers in the trial games with the national team and also in the league for Challengers. He has played for the U19 side before but will be running out with the senior side for the 1st time. His lack of international experience might be a disadvantage given the kind of tournament they are prepared but fortunately, he is a boy who is willing to learn on the job.
Richard Agamire the surprise inclusion in the 12 man training squad. (Photo - Edgar Hamala)
Former Cricket Cranes Captain Roger Mukasa is part of the 12 together with his former assistant Brian Masaba. There is no word on who will take up the job on a full-time basis as yet.
Arnold Otwani the most consistent batsman for the Cricket Cranes for the past year gets a look in and he will continue to keep wickets with Fred Achellam. Kenneth Waiswa also makes the squad after recovering from a back injury that kept him out of the Africa T20 qualifiers squad.
Shahzad Kamal has made himself available for the tour to Hongkong and will definitely add value to the squad, he has missed the last two tours due to work commitments but his availability should allow Roger Mukasa and Arnold Otwani to play with a lot more freedom. The selectors have also kept faith with Hamu Kayondo who has gotten great stats but needs to learn how to convert them into big totals.
Veteran Frank Nsubuga and Henry Ssenyondo are the spinners in the side and without the mystery of Irfan Afridi, they will carry the bulk of the bowling. Frank Nsubuga had an operation on his bowling hand after he was struck by a ball but he should be fit by the time of the tournament.
Youngsters Zephaniah Arinatiwe and Rogers Olipa miss out on selection despite being part of the Africa T20 qualifiers side alongside fast bowler Emmanuel Isaneez who was also overlooked.
The World Challenge League Group B will be held in Hong Kong from Nov 26th to Dec 10th. The venue is yet to be confirmed because of the political situation in Hong Kong.
Full Training Squad.
1) Roger Mukasa
2) Hamu Kayondo
3) Arnold Otwani
4) Brian Masaba
5) Riazat Sha
6) Kenneth Waiswa
7) Charles Waiswa
8) Fred Achelam
9) Henry Ssenyondo
10) Richard Agamire
11) Shazad Kamal