Mitch Horrocks, Mwebaze Suleiman, Calvin Watuwa, Steven Wabwose and the experienced line up of KICC will likely determine how the 2018 season plays out in Division 1
One wet weekend into the 2018 Jazz Safari Men’s Cricket league season and the cricket horoscopes seem have picked out the stars likely to determine how the season will turn out for the Tornado Bee, KICC, and Challengers CC.
KICC 89 all out in 24.3 overs lost to Challengers CC 90/5 in 18.5 overs by 5 wickets.
At the Entebbe Lakeside Oval, KICC lasted all of 147 balls at the crease; granted, Entebbe has a history of low scoring ties and this could be attributed to off season jitters subjugating basic skills but the lineup that Captain Hanumant Katkar assembled was based league experience and a familiarity with situations like the game in Entebbe against Challangers CC.
However the iconoclastic pace of David Wabwire will rarely respect experience if it is not used to it’s desired effect, allow it to spend some time in the middle.
In 2016, Falak Sher, Frank Nsubuga, Arthur Ziraba and Captain Hanumant himself were part of the collapse in the game against Partidar CC when left arm spinner Hardik Patel run through the side to defend a sub 100 score.
KICC’s only and likely play this season will be batting out their 300 balls if and when the opportunity presents itself, the short aggressive batting perfomances will not be common for them, rather long drawn out games where they allow for the cricketing savoire-faire of the likes of National Team players Arthur Ziraba, Irfan Muhammad Sahibzada, Davis Karashani and Frank Nsubuga to blossom.
KICC’s experience will likely keep them up, but the games must be drawn out, their season is a battle that must be won like a game of chess, they lack the explosiveness that leads to collapses like Sunday.
Quick collapse at the beginning of the run chase for Challengers CC but already Steven Wabwose has began to pay interest on the promissory note written out to National Team Coach Steven Tikolo through the camp and tour to Sanjay Farm in South Gujarat Chikhli.
Steven was averaging a below potential 14 in 2017, with 148 runs in 10 innings and a 48 that helped defeat Tornado Bee in Entebbe; he however has gone past the ‘potential’ storyline and must now mature to turn in scores that will change games and championships.
Patience; a virtue that keeps growing in value with every passing shot and delivery of a batsman’s innings, inevitably building solid careers was always going to make the difference on the day. Entebbe rewards those who like to savor the lake breeze in the middle as they bat and Steven’s 38(53) was well executed.
Challengers have long been T20 speicalists, but the ODI trophy has been elusive. It would serve Wabwose well to understand his game and role with the side. Challengers is explosive, with batsmen like Haneef Shah, Arthur Kyobe and Hamu Bagenda Kayondo who will comfortably score at 95%+ strike rate, Steven is the perfect antithesis to this line up with his patient style.
If Challengers must make a title bid, then Steven will be wise to stick to his “under the nose” waiting on the ball to come to him approach to graft out scores that make the difference for his side.
Premier CC 167/10 in 43.2 overs lost to Tornado Bees CC 168/1 in 26.2 overs by 9 wickets.
Tornado Bee saw a big exodus, losing a wicket keeper and an opening bowler at the start of the season, and it is plain to see they will lack in the latter department as the season progresses because John Mpande will not have the time or effort in the week to keep turning out match winning spells on the weekend, nor will Deus who has a hectic schedule that began in Qatar in February, through South Gujarat in India, with Saudi Arabia Series coming up in Kampala and the WCL qualifiers in Kualar Lumpur, Malaysia.
But in youngster Suleiman Mwebaze, they possess a diamond that must be polished regularly with long gruelling spells against top orders if they must create a credible threat to opposition openers. Suleiman is an asset in confidence alone, he can hold his bat which is not his primary role, but his ability to run in hard consistently and find swing during the GNEXT Challenge for ABC Samurais is the how he rose to recognition.
Mewbaze’s biggest undoing thus far is he was under used by his club captain at Charity CC.
How Tornado Bee decides to use this weapon in Suleiman will then determine how credible their threat to the title is; they must find early wickets, and Deus Muhumuza will have a big workload for the season if he must bowl, bat and field. Suleiman allows the option of reserving Deus to bat long and build match winning partnerships and innings.
Mitch Horrocks was good value in timing and finding of gaps. It was less the bowling he faced but more of what he did with the deliveries he faced that showed that Tornado Bees will have likely landed the best no. 3 in the league for the season so far.
Any batsman worth his salt will want to give himself time to get into an innings, Mitch executed well. Nothing fancy, just plain old batting, hard running and placement of the ball. Once or twice he found a good boundary off the full delivery, but in building an innings alone, he is probably one of the best signings as it looks.
Calvin Watuwa joined Premier from Jinja SS with a healthy Strike rate of 96%, Aggregate of 200 runs from 9 innings, highest score of 74 with twi half centuries. Not Bad.
But that is then; he must quickly forget these statistics and build his new legacy in Division 1 as he realised in game one for his new employers Premier CC. A gutsy 45(67) is the type of Criket he must now deliver every weekend at Premier CC; this will likely be his Gambit for Under 19 National team selection and ultimately Senior Men’s Team call up.
Calvin can bat, but he must not fall into the trap of “I think Calvin batted well for his 44 on Sunday”. Most around the cricket circles will talk about his performance with delight, but he did not win the game for Premier nor did he turn the good start into a useful statistic for his side.
Calvin has 'potential', but many of his peers are stuck in the potential time warp. He will be wise to have this pinned somewhere on the wall in his room.
In choosing to play for Premier, he chose a path that allows for pressure every time he walks out to bat; and an opportunity to play every game of the season, good plan. This pressure and contingency for turning out on team sheet by virtue of his being a “paid pro” must now be used to inspire long hard knocks, which his style for the longest time, and should be for the forseeable future.
If Premier must stay up, it won’t be Calvin that makes it possible, it will be how the experienced players like Captain Utsav Shah, Himanshu Rish, Stalin Jaganathan and Ratheesh Nair groom him as a batsman; as a youngster, he will turn up fit and ready, how the senior Premier CC players advise and groom him will then help him keep them up in Division 1.