Simba Premier League Team Draft Review

Former Uganda international Denis Musali provides an overview and analysis of the squads for the upcoming Simba Premier League

Kenya celebrates Emmanuel Bundi's 4th wicket against PNG at T20WC (Photo: ICC)

Following the announcement of the Simba Premier League and the completion of the subsequent draft, fans of African cricket have now learned who will be competing in the tournament. Each team is loaded with stars of African cricket and the calibre of the players involved promises that the tournament will be a memorable one.

Serengeti Dezo Construction 

Squad: Elijah Otieno (C)*, Irfan Karim (WK)*, Thomas Ochieng*, Joseph Onyango*, Naman Patel*, Charles Waiswa*, Arnold Otwani*, Nischay Kerai, Harshit Vekaria, Nikul Patel & Dedan Ayodi

The Serengeti Dezo Construction squad is loaded with seven international players and will be led by Elijah Otieno and the experienced Irfan Karim. The team has a strong bowling line up with a variety of different bowling options including Otieno, Joseph Onyango and Ugandan international Charles Waiswa. The load of scoring runs will be on youngster Thomas Ochieng who was part of the 2018 U19 World Cup team as well senior players Cricket Cranes Vice-Captain Arnold Otwani and Irfan Karim between whom they can also be able to share the glove work. 

Samburu Prime Tanks 

Squad: Shem Ngoche (C)*, Kavi Dosaja(WK)*, Pushpak Kerai*, Lucas Oluoch*, Alfred Luseno, Eugene Ochieng*, Sukhraj Singh*, Roger Mukasa*, Brian Masaba*, Dillan Shah & Jignesh Hirani

Kenya Uganda

The Samburu Prime Tanks team boasts three international captains and will be one of the favourites for the title. The team will be led by Kenyan captain Shem Ngoche, who will be able to reach out to the current Cricket Cranes captain Brian Masaba and former Ugandan captain Roger Mukasa for leadership support during the campaign. The team has a strong bowling line up that will be led by the dependable Lucas Oluoch with support from the experienced Alfred Luseno. Shem Ngoche and Pushpak Kerai offer the expected slow bowling options for the team, with Roger Mukasa also providing an option for his captain. Fans of the Prime Tanks will hope Cricket Cranes captain Brian Masaba will be able to build some momentum during the tournament with his fantastic capabilities as a genuine all-rounder while Roger Mukasa, who had a grey patch in 2019, can rediscover his form in a format which he thrives in. 

Tsavo Glory Hotels 

Squad: Nelson Odhiambo (C)*, Newton Muthee(WK)*, Rakep Patel*, Aman Gandhi*, Peter Koech*, Raj Savla*, Jonathan Sebanja*, Frank Nsubuga*, Tony Ochieng, Gurjeet Singh, Mihir Jesani & Harshvandan Patel

Kenya’s Rakep Patel in action

The Tsavo Glory Hotels, led by Nelson Odhiambo, on paper has one of the most entertaining batting line-ups on display. Rakeep Patel is one of the finest batsmen in Kenya and will share the field a variety of fantastic talents including the fast-rising Amani Ghandi; who has gained international experience during the 2018 U19 World Cup team. The squad has depth, and with two strong all-rounders from Uganda in medium-pacer Jonathan Ssebanja and the veteran Frank Nsubuga the team has a wide aray of international experience. Overall, the Glory Hotels are a balanced side with bowlers who have plenty of experience and batsman who have the mental toughness to stay calm in pressure situations. 

Kilimanjaro Daman Ganga

Squad: Morris Ouma (c)*, Peter Kituku (WK)*, Rushab Patel*, Adarsh Sawjani*, Nehemiah Odhiambo*, Pradyuman Joshi*, Frank Akankwasa*, Shukan Mehta*, Hamu Kayondo*, Hanry Ssenyondo* & Shubham Patel  

The Daman Ganga side will be led by one of the most experienced Kenyan cricketers Maurice Ouma. He captained the Kenyan side at the 2002 U19 World Cup where Kenya faced the future Australian team that had the likes of Shane Watson and Michael Clarke. Ouma will have the services of the fast-rising all-rounder Frank Akankwasa from Uganda to call upon, left-arm spinner Henry Ssenyondo and batsman Hamu Kayondo. Kenyan international Nehemiah Odhiambo provides the experience with bat and ball alongside Peter Kituku who gets the gloves but is also handy with the bat. 

Mara Texas Alarms

Squad: Alex Obanda (C)*, Achillam Fred (WK)*, Collins Obuya*, Sachin Bhudia*, Dominic Wesonga*, Emmanuel Bundi*, James Ngoche*, Deus Muhumuza*, Jasraj Kundi*, Haraj Singh* & Steve Biko*

The Mara Texas Alarms are the only side in the tournament who are completely comprised of international players. Alex Obanda, who for the last two years has spent more time in Uganda than Kenya, will lead a side that has veteran Collins Obuya as one of its anchor players. James Ngoche gets a run out despite being locked out in the blue due to a suspect bowling action and he will share the wicket taking role with Emmanuel Bundi, Deus Muhumuza and Dominic Wesonga. The bulk of scoring runs will be on Alex Obanda, Collins Obuya and the young Sachin Bhudia. 

When speaking to Emerging Cricket about the tournament, Obanda described his excitement for the competition.

“If all goes well it will be a good way for cricket to restart in Kenya. The tournament presents the opportunity to increase players’ morale and get players back into competitive action. I remember back in 2009, there used to be the East Africa Premier League which really helped the growth of cricket in Kenya and Ugandan Cricket. Let’s hope the tournament is able to go ahead and that it all goes as planned.”

Amboseli Hirani Telekoms

Squad: Jimmy Kamande (C)*, Harendra Mukesh, Dhiren Ghondaria*, Sukhdeep Singh*, Gurdeep Singh*, Martin Okoth*, Mukunj Patel*, Gerald Mwendwa*, Zephania Arinaitwe*, Jadhavji Bhimhi* & Herath Kawinda (UG)

The legend Jimmy Kamande will lead the franchise, still a very competent player despite his age. His biggest asset will be his wisdom on the field of play and will be something his team should count on. He has the explosive Dhiren Ghondaria to get them off a good start in the power play overs with the bat who will have company in Uganda’s Zephaniah Arinaitwe and youngster Gerald Mwendwa, who was a revelation for Kenya as they qualified for the U19 in 2018. The Hirani Telekoms are of the most experienced franchise teams and will be amongst the favourites. 

All of the teams competing in the tournament are stacked with exciting talent and the young players competing will be able to learn a lot thanks to the mixture of experience competing. One thing is for certain, the Simba Premier League promises to be an exciting tournament and it is a fantastic achievement that such a tournament has been organised given the global situation.

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