Cricket Cranes coach Tikolo preaches belief

It has been eons since Uganda either last scored runs in the excess of 250 or chased down targets of 260 plus in a competitive game.
Uganda’s game, especially with the bat, was all about giving deliveries either a gung-ho or dead-straight bat approach.
In such a scenario, it was either hitting out of trouble and hope luck stays on your side or just playing delivers, especially those from spin bowlers, with a dead straight bat in fear of crumbling or losing wickets.
The art of grafting had been heard of but never applied because it wasn’t in Ugandans’ DNA. And local batsmen’s way of playing was suicidal and not productive over consistent games.

But on Steve Tikolo’s Second Coming as Uganda coach, he has worked overtime to find a formula to Uganda’s batting madness. And although the Cricket Cranes remain a work in progress, the results are starting show.
“We can compete with these sides (foreign franchises) on daily basis and even beat them if we believe in our process,” Tikolo told Daily Monitor after the Cricket Cranes picked up their third win - a six-wicket win over Kwazulu Natal Inland Academy - on this ongoing Tour of South Africa on Monday.

“We have the talent in our side to finish off games clinically with calculated risks. The guys have got to continue playing to their strengths and execute the game plans. Hard work is a must in this game of cricket.”
Uganda play their sixth game against KZN franchise today and will be eager to continue making hay as they prepare for the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League (WCL) Division III showpiece scheduled for this November in Oman.

By Innocent Ndawula

Legend Tikolo back as Cricket Cranes coach

The search for a new gaffer by Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) is as good as over.

Initiated in Nairobi soon after being sacked by Cricket Kenya, brokered in Zimbabwe where he was Team Manager for the Kenya Ladies at the just-concluded ICC Africa Women World T20 Qualifier, legendary Steve Tikolo flies into town today to put pen to paper and take over as Cricket Cranes coach on a one-year renewable contract.

Daily Monitor has learnt that UCA zeroed down on Tikolo after a vetting process that started in April involving a handful of renowned tacticians from India, South Africa, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe among others.

This will not be Tikolo’s first time to tutor Uganda after he sat in the dugout as Martin Suji’s assistant/batting coach when the Cricket Cranes won the Pepsi T20 African Premier League (APL) in 2012 and sailed through seamlessly to earn ICC World Cricket League Division II qualification in Bermuda 2013.

He also steered local franchise Rwenzori Warriors to the defunct East Africa Cricket League title after beating Kenya Kongonis during his tenure. But being head coach this time round, the 44-year-old has his plate full with a bumper schedule awaiting him.

After meeting the UCA Board on Thursday, Tikolo is expected to meet all the players vying for national team slots before embarking on a tedious project of scouting for new talent across the country. He will then select a provisional squad basing on the players’ performances in the league and net sessions he will have conducted in Jinja and Lugogo.

Uganda is eager to rub shoulders with the ‘big boys’ again when the ICC WCL Division III – a tournament UCA has already bid to host, takes center stage in January 2017.

Selected former coaches 
Aug 2014- Jan 2015: Peter Kirsten 
April 2014–Aug 2014: Davis Turinawe
July 2013 – Feb 2014: Johan Rudolph
May 2013 – July 2013: Henry Okecho

Tikolo at a glance

Name: Stephen Ogonji Tikolo (44 years old)
Place: Nairobi, Kenya
Nationality: Kenyan
Nickname: Gunnzie
Batting style: Right-handed
Bowling style: Right-arm off spin
Role: Batting all-rounder
ODI debut: February 18, 1996 vs India
Last ODI: Jan 23, 2014 vs. Netherlands 
Teams coached: Kenya, Kenya U-19, Kenya Women, Uganda, Rwenzori Warriors (Uganda), Southern Rocks (Zimbabwe).

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Tackling spin is most important - coach Mutyagaba

While Africa Cricket Association keeps participants guessing about the dates of the ICC Africa Women’s Twenty20 Championship, Team Uganda has kept up with its training routine.


In a bid to gauge what they have learnt in practice, coaches Jonathan Ssebanja and Grace Mutyagaba had slotted a series of trial matches for the Lady Cricket Cranes for tourney expected to happen in April. 
Although winning was not the essence, the two build-up matches at the lakeside oval in Entebbe on Saturday, left the national women’s side with several unanswered questions.


The Lady Cricket Cranes lost by 80 and 124 runs in the respective morning and afternoon contests. 
“We brought in the boys to give the ladies a different kind of ball game,” Mutyagaba explained. The previous four trial matches were between selected Mackenzie Ayato XI, Franklyn Najjumba XI and Naomi Kayondo X1 sides.


“The U-23 boys played with aggression the ladies were not accustomed to,” said one of the coaches Mutyagaba.
“They also exposed that we are a weak spin-playing unit. We know that giants Zimbabwe have got some good spinners and if we work on how to play the slow bowlers it could give us an advantage over them.”
Perhaps, Mutyagaba will be triggered to think more about his bowlers Najjumba, Ayato, Patricia Malemkia, Ritah Musamali and Stephannie Nampina.


This is after the quintet conceded an unbeaten century of 135 runs off Zephania Arinaitwe’s willow as U-23 Boys set 178-5 in the afternoon duel. 
Only Saidat Kemigisha managed to reply with a meagre 15 runs off 34 deliveries.

 

TRIAL MATCH RESULTS
U-23 X1 148/7 Lady Cricket Cranes 68/10
U-23 XI 178/5 Lady Cricket Cranes 54/10

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