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Uganda, Kenya seek balance in Derby Trophy

The senior men’s national cricket team began a tough 13-day spell of preparations ahead of next month’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Sub-Regional Africa Qualifiers in Rwanda’s capital Kigal with the Derby Trophy opener against Kenya yesterday.

There will be a repeat of that at the university Oval in Kyambogo this morning as both East African sides engage gears on Day Two of the Bilateral Series.

For Cricket Cranes’ coach Laurence Mahatlane, this second match could be pertinent for his players Dinesh Nakrani and Ronak Patel.

The pair was away in India and did not have ample time with the team in the preparatory bio-bubble camp in Entebbe which had hit double digits of days before the three-match 50-Over showpiece got underway.

Since both Nakrani and Ronak arrived from the sub-continent on Thursday, yesterday’s appeared to have come so soon for them. It implies Mahatlane’s hand will be forced to make some changes and incorporate the batting duo with some medium-pace deliveries too, on offer from Nakrani.

This is not a problem though. It fits the South African tactician’s plan to offer each of the players in the 20-man squad a chance to play across the 12 matches in the Trophy and the ensuing Pearl of Africa Tri-Series comprising Nigeria, which begins on Tuesday.

“From a selection point of view, it’s about opportunities,“ said Mahatlane who even welcomed seven changes from the team that last competed in the Castle Lite Series in Namibia back in April.

Both Nakrani and Ronak were part of the team that was whitewashed 5-0 in Windhoek but with some big names away and a few youngsters raising their hands in Kyambogo, it offers some good selection headache to South Africa U19s’ former boss.

“So that’s more opportunities for more players. This will help us in understanding how players respond under pressure in international cricket and where they are.

“I am excited with this group, we’ve got some youngsters that have really not put up their hands and been selected throughout our internal trial games and we’ve got some old guys that have not been around lately,“ he added.