In Summary

Cricket. Uganda will play in Division IV next year after collapsing at the hands of USA on Monday in Entebbe. In the aftermath of the defeat, skipper Davis Karashani called for sweeping changes


Uganda was on Monday relegated from the ICC World Cricket League Division Three after losing to USA by 13 runs at the lakeside oval in Entebbe Oval.

As the country reflects on the realities of playing in Division Four due in September 2018, captain Davis Karashani has called for changes to the way things are done.

We have been relegated so that is a valid point that the team crumbled under the weight of expectation from the home crowd,” Karashani said.

“I expected that playing at home would give us the advantage given that we have grown up playing on these wickets but the fact that we have gotten relegated is a shocker.”

Prior to the tournament, the general belief was Uganda had one of the best bowling attacks. The bowling has not disappointed and coach Steve Tikolo’s notion to emphasize batting partnerships and long innings during the eight months preparation camp is justified.

But in Entebbe, we saw little in terms of partnerships as Frank Nsubuga, Brian Masaba, Jonathan Sebanja, Kamal Shahzad and Irfan Mohammed got excited, one after the other, and were caught either going for glory shots or in no man’s land. The opening pair of Ham Kayondo and Arthur Kyobe have not lived up to the billing either.

Karashani believes the batsmen have not been hungry enough.
“For my entire career, I think Uganda has had one of the best bowling attacks in associate cricket. But our batsmen never step up when we need them and this tournament has been no exception,” Karashani added.

“First things first, we need to get guys who can bat and have the hunger to bat,” Karashani said in a statement that bordered on calling for sweeping changes.

“We are not incapable of grooming them. We should send young players to academies to better their skill-set and maybe also look at Ugandans born here but are abroad. Our top four must step up,” he added.

Not that there were no tactical lapses. Karashani refused to admit it but one of the tactical lapses of this tournament came when he won the toss and elected to bat against Oman on a damp wicket. Oman made a meal out of chasing Uganda’s 144 runs.

Against USA, the bowling at death came to the fore in the 33rd over of the first innings. With USA at 82-7, Howard Hutchinson came on and made 52 runs off 50 balls with three meaty sixes and three boundaries to bring USA back into the game.

Wicket keeping conundrum
In that game, Uganda called on their third wicket keeper of the tournament in Naeem Bardai after Lawrence Ssematimba aggravated his injuries while Tikolo said he could not call on Arnold Otwani after a “disciplinary” case in camp.

Karashani and Tikolo have not shied away from chopping and changing the team but that did not help Uganda’s cause either. So will this captain, that led Uganda to two Division Two tournaments in 2015 and 2013 hang on to lead yet another team after this failure? He was not very straightforward.

“When I was recalled (from retirement), I told coach I could not do it for long.

“I wasn’t very sure of how much I could stay and I am not sure I can be as available as I have been in the past three months but we’ll have a chat with the technical team, coaches and players.”

And with the skipper not mincing his words, his declaration and general assessment is one of a man who certainly wants the game to scale the heights at all costs.