Skipper Brian Masaba was the biggest casualty as the selectors announced the final 14-man team for the Castle Lite Series against Namibia from April 3-9 at Wanderers Cricket Ground in Windhoek.
Masaba failed a late fitness test and must now stay back home to allow his recurring hamstring injury heal. He will be missing his first tour since making his debut in 2011. Vice-captain Arnold Otwani takes over as the skipper.
The recently contracted trio of opening batsmen Simon Ssesazi, Emmanuel Hasahya, and wicketkeeper/batsman Fred Achelam also didn’t make the cut as well as Uganda A’s orthodox spinner Gerald Mubiru.
The selectors opted to go with Uganda A captain Frank Akankwasa as the replacement for Masaba. Two players; top-order batsman Saud Islam and young opening bowler Cosmas Kyewuta are also set to make their full senior debuts.
There is also a return to the fold for batsman Hamu Kayondo Bagenda for the first time in three years since the 2018 ICC Division III World Cricket League in Oman and left-arm seamer Jonathan Ssebanja, who last played in the forgettable 2017 ICC Division III World Cricket League that was hosted by Uganda.
“It is disappointing to have worked hard and then miss out on this particular tour. But these things happen and we have to look at the bigger picture which is preparing well for the ICC World Cricket Challenge League B in Jersey this September. Good thing is we have got depth in the squad and I wish Arnold (Otwani) and the boys all the best,” the injured skipper Masaba noted.
Laurence Mahatlane, the Cricket Cranes coach admits captain Masaba will be greatly missed in Namibia.
“The strongest possible team available has been picked. It is hard blow for us to take that Brian didn’t pass the late fitness test. He is an important cog on the team as he is a four-in-one cricketer. He’s a batsman, wrist spinner, arguably our best fielder and also our captain,” Mahatlane said.
He added, “But we have created systems which will give youngsters some chances to come through. It’s nice to see Hamu back. I would love to see how the new guys perform.”
The cricket cranes, who have a decisive outing to Jersey this September, are atop of the ICC World Cricket Challenge League B after winning five out five in Oman 2019.
Another dominant show will leave them on the brink of playing One Day Internationals (ODIs).
Final Squad For Namibia Tour
Frank Akankwasa, Trevor Bukenya, Jonathan Ssebanja, Frank Nsubuga, Ronak Patel, Kenneth Waiswa, Riazat Ali Shah, Cosmas Kyewuta, Dinesh Nakrani, Henry Ssenyondo, Arnold Otwani (captain), Roger Mukasa, Saud Islam, Hamu Kayondo
Important to note is that all games and trainings will be played at Wanderers Cricket Ground/ Turf Nets