Batting concerns remain for cricket side

Renown Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger once said: ‘Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.’
It’s this motivational quote that will ring a loud bell in the ears of the men’s national cricket team players when at the gruesome ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division II tournament that bowls off on Saturday. 
The Cricket Cranes carried batting concerns to Windhoek last night after failing to impress in two warm-up matches played as they finalised preparations in South Africa’s beautiful city of Cape Town. 
During the 10-day bootcamp that involved a series of training sessions and adventurous team bonding, coach Peter Kirsten’s side was far from convincing in last Thursday’s seven-wicket loss to Western Province Amateur XI and Tuesday’s 17-run win over the Boland Amateur X1 at Vineyard Oval in Newlands. 
“The team is ticking most of the boxes but we still have some unfinished business in the batting,” skipper Frank Nsubuga admitted in a telephone interview with Daily Monitor from the team base at Park Inn Foreshore Hotel yesterday.
“We are strong in bowling and fielding but the hitches we face with the bat must be countered.” 
Top-order trio of Arthur Kyobe, Roger Mukasa and Hamu Kayondo made no much impact as only assistant captain Brian Masaba stood out with respective scores of 57 (off 91) and 23 (off 34) enroute to setting scores below 170 runs in both matches. 
“A less than 200-run score offers us no chance to win a single match on the fast pitches in Namibia,” Nsubuga noted. “Good partnerships depend on how the innings start and so the top-order ought to build momentum. We need to score more than 200 runs.”

Cricket warm-up

TUESDAY 
Uganda 153/10 Boland X1 136/10
(Uganda won by 17 runs)

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Cricketers in bullish mood

Everything seems to be working out right as the national men’s senior cricket team finalises its preparations ahead of the ICC World Cricket League (WCL) Division II showpiece in Namibia this weekend.
Currently in camp in Cape Town, the Cricket Cranes have picked up the right frame of mind, just in time for the January 17-24 showpiece after a cast of enthralling activities in South Africa’s most beautiful city at the weekend.

“We have no injury concerns. Every player is in the right mood after some adventurous days here,” skipper Frank Nsubuga told Daily Monitor on phone from the team base at Park Inn Foreshore Hotel yesterday.

Coach Peter Kirsten’s side arrived in South Africa six days ago and they started their final bend to the Windhoek event with a few training sessions before a seven-wicket loss to Western Province Amateur XI at the Vineyard Oval on Thursday.

The team’s preparations were enhanced when Nsubuga and company watched some of their world-famous idols as Chris Gayle’s 31-ball 77 blitz guided tourists West Indies to a four-wicket win over South Africa in Game One of their T20 International Series the ultra-modern Newlands Park on Friday night.

“The players we watched are the ones going to the ODI World Cup next month. So I think each player got to learn a thing or two that can be applied in Namibia,” said Nsubuga, a West Indies diehard.

And Saturday’s team’s jog through the woods of Newlands Forest, located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, elevated the aura of positive feeling before they rested yesterday. “With the fitness motive aside, that run through the forest has fostered team bonding which is key.” 

Further, Nsubuga was unmoved on learning that some of Uganda’s opponents like Nepal and Netherlands have also camped in South Africa.

“We know some others are here as well but we don’t mind what they do. We are intent on working on the finer details before we head to Namibia on Thursday.”

WCL Division III champions Nepal are based in Johannesburg, the Dutch have camped in Pretoria while Canada is playing warm-up matches in Zimbabwe.

Team Uganda headed for Namibia event 
The players
Frank Nsubuga (captain), Davis Karashani, Hamu Kayondo, Arthur Kyobe, Brian Masaba (vice captain), Deus Muhumuza, Roger Mukasa, Phillemon Mukobe, Abram Mutyagaba, Patrick Ochan, Daniel Ruyange, Jonathan Ssebanja, Lawrence Ssematimba, Henry Ssenyondo

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