The effort put up in the two warm-up matches against Kenya select sides have defined Team Uganda’s new batting potential ahead of the ICC U-19 World Cup Qualifiers.
Regardless, there is still concern notwithstanding ability to score 250 plus runs in games against the Nairobi XI and Kenya’s seniors earlier this week.
The team’s best batsman Zephaniah Arinaitwe (pictured bowling) is struggling to perform. “He is going through a patch of poor form,” Team Uganda assistant coach Jackson Ogwang told this paper.
Now in four successive warm-up ties, the opening batsman Arinaitwe has struggled to cross the 25-run mark against the Uganda Select sides and Kenya.
In those innings, his best return was 21 runs in the last tie against Uganda XI at Lugogo last Saturday.
He made 14 runs off 17 balls against the Nairobi Select but struggled further with only 8 off 7 against Kenya XI on a batting wicket at Kanbis Sports Club in Eastleigh this week.
But Ogwang still trusts the 16-year-old. “I believe in his abilities. He just needs one good score to get his confidence back and he is good to go.”
“To beat the odds, we need Arinaitwe scoring. We trust him and shall work with him to improve the figures in one way or another,” coach Francis Otieno noted.
Arinaitwe was Uganda’s best batsman with 114 runs in five innings during the last pursuit for a ticket to the ICC Youth World Cup in Malaysia two years ago.
His best score was a 37-ball 59 in the nine-wicket win over Papua New Guinea before Uganda came fourth in the road to Bangladesh.
“I will come better. I need to be patient too,” Arinaitwe offered in a recent chat with this paper.
“He knows what the team requires of him and we’ll back him up,” captain Kenneth Waiswa said.
The Baby Cricket Cranes begin their quest for the lone slot to World Cup slated for New Zealand next year against Botswana at Jaffrey Oval tomorrow.
Uganda last took part at the global event 12 years ago in Sri Lanka.
ICC AFRICA U-19
WC QUALIFIER - JULY 1-8
Uganda vs. Botswana
Kenya vs. Ghana
Ghana vs. Uganda
Kenya vs. Botswana
By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE & INNOCENT NDAWULA