By Innocent Ndawula
Tim Kearsey aka Big Tim or Big Mandingo, who was a member of the Uganda Coaching Team during 2018, gives a recap of the year ending and talks of how the game can develop in the Nation he loves. He talked to Cricket Uganda’s Innocent Ndawula.
Ambitions for a team that we consider to be our family is one of the greatest strengths of Ugandan Cricket. Families are quite complicated. Together they share a strength that few groups or tribes can boast in a confrontational and unfair world. The best families have principles and an understanding of togetherness and continuity.
What really happened in Oman at ICC World Cricket League Division 3?
There is little to say about the Denmark game. They are quite similar to Uganda – Gentlemen of the Sport. They could have probably beaten us - like they so nearly beat USA, eventually beating Kenya. The solid targets, which give batsmen time to understand that certain run totals are available by pushing for singles and hitting the bad ball gave a solid win.
Arnold Otwani was special in the Denmark game. His keeping during the whole tournament was easily amongst the best. So as a coach what do you say to a young man with talent like he has? Simple – keep working – self educate with the power of the information and never be afraid to gain knowledge from all that cricket has to offer us. Denmark had two batsmen (Freddie Klokker & Hamid Shah) capable of winning games against any opposition.
Riazat Ali Shah deserves special mention for listening to his coaches and patiently with great instincts taking the scalps of those two match-winning Danish players. A better bowler with more consistency than he is recognised for.
Onto USA – we were well prepared and you could tell the USA feared Uganda’s armoury of talent and match winners. For me, the clear agenda that the USA have the chance to become a Test-playing nation have clearly clouded the fair basis the game of cricket is played – to champion honesty and integrity.
Clearly UCA has this philosophy and that on this day I was watching a manifestation of corruption unfold in the game. I am not directing this at any official or organisation. I just remember a USA player deliberately shoulder-barging into a stationary Hamu Kayondo and the umpire seeing the incident and chose to turn his head away. Think of South African bowler Kabisa Rabada getting match bans for something similar and for far less malicious intent than the USA player.
I have little to say about Irfan Afridi. Only that he is gentle giant that has very little wrong with his action. He has an elbow that can move in circular directions to a small degree (legal) and one delivery that slightly exceeds 15% that needs to be corrected (he rarely uses this but it gives him an advantage).
Clearly, he also has a wrist that bends from his immense power that has clouded some of the evidence available. The whole degree of inaccuracies surrounding him I believe was a cover up of his disgraceful mishandling in the game against USA.
Under ICC Regulation 21.2 on field no-balling has clearly been outlawed and that the umpires failed to recognise their own regulations. The rule also clears gives him 14 further days to play after the match referee has reported any suspicion. Afridi has been cleared of such suspicions via video evidence submitted to the ICC previously. The way his journey to healing for his ‘problem delivery’ is work in progress. The whole event is in the past now – time will tell as it already has that the USA are on an unsustainable journey that in the past has damaged the name of cricket.
Put 10% of the money USA have and in 5-7 years you have a massive cricket Test-playing nation in Uganda with all the TV Rights and grounds and supporters we could dream of.
I personally wish the USA well - though that an unnecessary favouritism serves no one. I am sure we will see them again soon. We lost the game even without Afridi because the US fielded with superiority – end of the matter – we should all move onto Afridi’s healing – he is a family member.
To Kenya – hard to say – the players had a slight Afridi ‘hangover’ but Kenya were a broken and demoralised team. Uganda were so poor – we seemed determined to give the Kenyans a chance.
To my team and family – I was upset and sad for you on this day. It was a time we needed to reflect on ourselves and our ability to intelligently play cricket. Kenya - our brothers in East Africa - we gave them a chance in never wishing to see their cricket broken.
However, cricket is a boxing match – we had them on the ropes and seemed to stop and ask them if they were okay a few times in the match? Uganda were not a team I enjoy coaching that day. I was very deeply upset and disappointed.
To Singapore – I have hired an optician for the umpires that day. This level of tournament requires the proven best – which were not provided. I also think it was a day we did not recognise utilising our best batsmen well enough.
They are good enough to handle the loss of early wickets – depending on how many times the umpires guide dog barks.
Kenny Waiswa showed he is a talent equal to Riazat Ali Shah and needs to bat and bowl as much as he can. He needs a mentor and without hesitation. He should be given these opportunities at Aziz Damani, or I would encourage him to play his club cricket elsewhere if he ain't getting them there.
He is very capable with the ‘Duke Ball’ and intelligent enough to master its use. He should not be held back. A true livewire!
To Oman – the Bilal Khan, Kalemullah and Fayyaz Butt show. Oman are the team that are really going places by the nature of their performances and infrastructure. By this point of the tournament Bilal Khan was too good. It was good to see an out of form Dinesh Nakrani showing strength as well his skill. Good players work hard to find form when it is not there however. Oman were extraordinaire.
What does the future hold?
Lastly, where does Ugandan Cricket go from here? Very simple, 80-90% of the same squad remains – but with a new fast bowler – to modernise in our coaching methods. Have continuation with a good captain in Roger Mukasa (whilst learning that if he puts the talent of his players first he will fulfil his own objectives) – to use the healing and blessed areas of Kasese and Sippi – in the mountains to send players deep into the sense of the Pearl of Africa running and camping out etc in these places – like Army Training.
There is very little wrong with Ugandan Cricket. We are highly resourceful with the limited tools we have at our disposal. I am just bored here in Jersey (British Island) watching some quite talent-less and spoilt cricketers with some exceptions.
Zephaniah Arinaitwe is a good boy – he got the understanding he needs about attitude very quickly and scores 50 ball hundreds against first class South African bowling attacks.
It is not all so bad…I think he hits a cricket ball like nobody I have ever seen even on TV – Youtube or anything or anywhere else. 17-years-old and only commitment and practice will make talent which is a great seed that become a powerful branch on a tree.
The team will offer entertainment and strength in the ICC Africa T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Kampala. The team needs the support from all stakeholders. Everyone should play their part. There is no two ways about it.