Under 19 Captain Pascal Murungi and three other players have been handed their Senior debut in the National Cricket team ahead of the Africa Cup Challenge slated for September 15th to 21st in Benoni, South Africa.
The 18-year-old all-rounder Captained the National Under 19s in January this year at the World Cup in the West Indies, and the team finished 13th after winning against Scotland and Papua New Guinea in the classification matches.
Pascal Murungi remarks that the senior team call is not only a motivation to him but also a sign that his hard work has been noticed and appreciated.
All eyes will be on the young lad as he is expected to emulate teammate Juma Miyagi who also graduated this year to the Senior team, and impressed.
“I’ve been waiting for the call and I think it just came at the right time, so I am motivated to work even harder. I drew a lot of experience with the U19s at the World Cup in the West Indies where I was one of the best performers in the associate countries.”
“We didn’t win at the World Cup but we had a lot to learn and It was a great experience for us.”
Pascal says he is not under any Pressure to impress since he has been preparing for this moment under the wings of teammates Frank Nsubuga and the senior team captain Brian Masaba who he looks up to.
The other three players on debut will be U-19 assistant Captain Munir Ismail, Aziz Damani’s Centurion Alpesh Ramjani whose call has been long overdue, and Joseph Baguma. Just like Pascal, 17-year-old Baguma seems not to be intimidated playing with the big boys.
The cricket team has been in camp for more than a month in preparation for the Africa Cup in South Africa and the T20 world cup qualifier in March next year.
The team will be skippered by Brian Masaba who returns from a finger injury he sustained in Zimbabwe, missing out on a couple of tournaments including the challenge League B final round.
Brian says the addition of the U19 players to the squad should not be seen as a threat to the Senior players but rather as an effort by the team to build squad depth ahead of future tournaments.
“It is important for us to have a look at the players we have and allow the youngsters to put their hands up and take their claim for a place in the team as we prepare for the world cup qualifier next year.”
“We are only building a squad depth since we have several tournaments coming up so we are trying to have a look at all the players we have as we also keep an eye on the future. If the boys start playing now, they will be ready for the big games. But it’s exciting because it creates competition in the team which helps to boost performance and is not a scare to the Senior players. We can’t wait to see what the boys will offer.” He concluded.
Uganda is in Pool A along with Ghana, Nigeria, and Malawi while Kenya, Botswana, Cameroon, and Mozambique are in pool B.
The tournament will be played in the T20 format with a T20-I status so teams will vie for ranking as well.
In their most recent outings, the Cranes’ team finished fifth at the T20 Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe last month and second in the challenge League B after an impressive run.
Brian Masaba (Captain), Deus Muhumuza, Frank Nsubuga, Kenneth Waiswa, Cosmas Kyewuta, Juma Miyagi, Alpesh Ramjani, Joseph Baguma, Pascal Murungi, Munir Ismail, Fred Achellam, Henry Ssenyondo, Riazat Ali Shah, Simon Ssesazzi
Laurence Mahatlane (Head Coach), Jackson Ogwang (Assistant Coach), Shamim Nassali (Physio), Steven Musiime (Analyst), Jackson Kavuma (Team Manager), Arthur Mbalule (Head of Delegation)