Arinaitwe, Akankwasa relish learning chance at ICC High Performance Camp

At the turn of November, Uganda’s cricket walked on egg shells after the nation was stabbed in cold blood, breathing to last place at the ICC World Cricket League Division Three in Oman.

With the changing ICC Associate nations’ cycle in line with the ODI World Cup, the Cricket Cranes set-up as well ought to revolve from the long-serving old guards to the new guns. To match that, Uganda Cricket Association CEO Martin Ondeko last month received an invitation for U-19 pair of Zephaniah Arinaitwe and Frank Akankwasa to feature at the ICC High Performance camp in Potchestroom, North West, South Africa from January 14 - February 20.
Having beaten the visa hitches to the Rainbow Nation, Arinaitwe and Akankwasa depart tonight for the priceless experience with other selected talents from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Mozambique and Botswana for the month’s camp.

“They have been rewarded for performing consistently over the last 18 months and we would like to further develop them,” read part of the letter by ICC Africa’s Kuben Pillay.
Primed to be the country’s batting lynch-pin, Arinaitwe was thrilled by the selection. “I earned this call through my hard work. I did my job. scoring runs over the last months,” said a smiling Arinaitwe prior to departure. “I plan to learn a lot of things and I want to prove to them that I can do what I have learnt. I target to score as many tons, if there are matches to play,” added the 17-year-old.

He is in familiar company of Akankwasa. “I hope to learn many things especially my confidence and polish my skills especially batting,” stated the all-rounder. 
Akankwasa is captain of the Baby Cricket Cranes who have already started preparing for ICC U-19 Africa World Cup Qualifiers scheduled for March this year in Nambia.

AFRICA ACADEMY 2019
Uganda Players: 
Frank Akankwasa, Zephaniah Arinaitwe, 
Participating Countries: 
Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, 
Mozambique, Botswana and Uganda.

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Arinaitwe ton lifts Uganda

Youngster Zephaniah Arinaitwe, playing with a stomach bug, threw caution to the wind and put on a batting masterstroke with a 51-ball ton of 107 runs to ensure Uganda started their three-match 50-over build-up for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III scheduled for Oman in Novermber on a winning note by six wickets.

The 17-year-old complained of stomach pains in the first innings as he kept wickets - for the second time on this tour - after captain of the day Brian Masaba had lost the toss and been asked to have a bowl.
Arinaitwe handed over the glove-work duties to left-hand opening batsman Simon Ssesazi for the rest of the innings as the hosts Kwazulu Natal Inland Academy set a commanding 269 for 4 in the allotted 50 overs at the Pietermaritzburg City Oval yesterday.

But Arinaitwe returned after the lunch break to open the innings and he batted in a ruthlessness manner - hitting everything in his range enroute to 16 boundaries and four sweetly timed sixes, and by the time he fell Uganda was just 119 runs away from victory at 151 for 2 in 16.3 overs.
“I love scoring quick,” Arinaitwe, in his ever cheerful manner told Daily Monitor. 
“Getting these centuries in quick time is what I would love to do for my country always. It gives me great joy to know that I can give my team a chance to win.” 

It was St John SS Mukono student’s sixth century of the season that has also seen him notch 197 off 66 balls last month at the Hayer StarField Tournament in Nairobi and a double-century in the Schools Cricket Week Qualifiers - a couple of months ago. 
Hamu Kayondo (78 not out off 78) and Riazat Ali Shah (53 off 39) got half centuries during the chase that saw Uganda keep the Academy Boys calm and it was fitting that captain Masaba (4* off 7 balls) got the winning runs. 
At the weekend, Uganda wrapped up its Africa T20 Cup campaign with two sensational victories against Western Province and eventual ‘Pool of Death’ winners Easterns in Group A. The team takes some rest today and will be back into the mix for another build up tomorrow.

By Innocent Ndawula

World Cup Qualifier -Coaches keep trust in Arinaitwe

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
PLAYING TOMORROW
Uganda vs. Botswana
Kenya vs. Ghana 
SUNDAY
Ghana vs. Uganda
Kenya vs. Botswana

By DARREN ALLAN KYEYUNE & INNOCENT NDAWULA

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