By Allan Darren Kyeyune
From Innocent Ndawula
The senior national cricket team started a tough 13-day prep for ICC Men’s T20 subregional Africa qualifiers next month in Rwanda’s capital Kigal with yesterday’s Derby Trophy opener against Kenya.
This will be repeated this morning in the University Oval in Kyambogo, as both East African sides shift into gear on the second day of the bilateral series.
For Cricket Cranes’ coach Laurence Mahatlane, this second game could be relevant for his players Dinesh Nakrani and Ronak Patel.
The couple were out and about in India and didn’t have much time with the team at the bio-bubble preparatory camp in Entebbe, which was in double digits days before the three-game 50-over showpiece started.
With both Nakrani and Ronak arriving from the subcontinent on Thursday, yesterday seemed to have come so quickly for them. It means Mahatlane’s hand will be forced to make some changes and also incorporate the slap duo with some medium-speed deliveries offered by Nakrani.
However, this is not a problem. It fits with the South African tactician’s plan to give every player in the 20-man squad the opportunity to play in the 12 games of the Trophy and the subsequent Pearl of Africa Tri-Series with Nigeria, which begins Tuesday.
“From a selection perspective, it’s about opportunities,” said Mahatlane, who even welcomed seven changes from the team that last competed in the Castle Lite Series in Namibia in April.
Both Nakrani and Ronak were part of the team that was whitewashed 5-0 in Windhoek, but with some big names and some young players in Kyambogo giving the former South African U19 coach some headaches.
“So there are more opportunities for more players. This will help us understand how players react to pressure in international cricket and where they are.
“I’m excited about this group, we have some young people who really don’t reach out and were selected during our internal auditions, and we have some old guys who haven’t been around recently,” he added.
10 a.m .: Uganda vs. Kenya (Kyambogo Oval, 50 overs)
Kaduna tour of Uganda
10 a.m .: Uganda U19 vs. Kaduna, (Lugogo Oval, 50 overs)