Suraj Karavadra Optimistic at World Cup Qualifiers

Uganda have no easy road through World Cup qualifying, though remain confident under new head coach Suraj Karavadra.

Uganda Team huddle before the match, 1st Play-off Semi-Final, ICC Women's World Twenty20 Qualifier at Utrecht, Jul 12th 2018. (Photo: ICC)

Uganda have been regulars at high end World Cup Qualifiers, most notably 2018 after winning the Africa Qualifiers in Namibia in 2017. The 2017 tournament gave Uganda a mark to reach again, especially after defeating the usual African representatives Zimbabwe, who were seemingly always guaranteed of entering through Africa. 

That history has given the ladies from Uganda the belief that they can make it to the Global Qualifiers and the bar is very high for the team. The 2019 run in Zimbabwe didn’t go well, with Uganda failing to make it to the final after losing to Namibia in the group stages. 

However, since the pandemic a lot of things have stalled, especially with ladies’ cricket, but the belief in this group of players is still strong. The opportunity to play at the qualifiers has given the players another chance to do what they are good at. 

The arrival of Suraj Karavadra from the UK as Head Coach is a sign of intent from the board that they want the ladies to excel. The lockdown situation in the country affected the preparations of the team. but Suraj is confident they have done the best to prepare. 

“The team so far has been good and it’s been nice to get to know the girls personally. We have been working on setting up a team culture and to also improve on their mental space. 

“We have worked on skills based training for the 1st two weeks since the lockdown was lifted. We have been lucky to have a psychologist and physiotherapist full time since we entered the bubble. We used the time in the bubble to play as many games as possible against the U19 boys and within the group”. 

Uganda come into the tournament with seven players who were part of the successful team in Namibia four years ago with a mix of some exciting talent. The T20 highest record duo of Proscovia Alako and Rita Musamali are in the team and the team’s most valuable player Immaculate Nakisuyi is now the Captain taking over from Kevin Awino. 

Uganda will rely heavily on its pace bowlers with Irene Alumo and Evelyn Anyipo the obvious 1st choice but Patricia Malemikia is the back up in case she is needed. The reliable Consy Aweko is the slow bowling option with leg spinner Stephanie Nampiina. 

The run scoring burden will fall on Proscovia Alako, youngster Esther Iloku, Rachel Ntono and Damalie Busingye. All-rounders Janet Mbabazi, Immaculate Nakisuyi, Rita Musamali and Naomi Kayondo the most experienced of the all players in the team will be looked at for leadership and contributions in all departments. 

Suraj Karavadra is confident as long as they execute their game plans they should be champions of African.

“I think we have prepared very for this tournament and I believe we have the skills to go all the way. In our group you would rate us and Namibia to go through but you can’t nothing away from Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Cameroon, the other teams in our group. 

“Our primary focus will be to make it to the knock outs and then think about the final. We need only five good games and once we have that focus we should be champions”. 

Like in Zimbabwe Uganda will play Namibia 1st before they take on Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Nigeria as the final group game. The top two teams from the groups qualify for the knock outs with winner of group A playing against the winner of group B and vice versa.

In 2017 they were called the Lady Cricket Cranes, but now emerge as the Victoria Pearls.

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