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Uganda is the baby of the World Cup: Coach Abhay Sharma

Last updated on 05 Jun 2024 | 10:57 AM
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Uganda is the baby of the World Cup: Coach Abhay Sharma

The Uganda coach mentioned playing under lights and slow surfaces as a big challenge for smaller nations in this competition

“Uganda is the baby of this World Cup,” said Uganda coach Abhay Sharma ahead of their second group game of the 2024 T20 World Cup against Papua New Guinea on June 6. 

Playing their first World Cup in any format, Uganda lost to Afghanistan in their first group game by a whopping margin of 125 runs. However, their coach Sharma reckons there were a lot of positives from the game. 

“It (playing their first World Cup match) was a huge moment for the whole country and the players also. We lost the game and we were quite short in certain areas but as a coach, I always look for the positives in the game,” he said. 

“Our captain Brian Musaba bowled very good spell of four overs for 21 runs with two wickets. We came back in the game after 10 overs, in 10 overs I think they were above 100 and we came back after that and we bowled really well and we took all the catches and we fielded really well after those 10 overs,” Sharma expanded on the positives. 

Sharma singled out playing under lights as a challenging factor for smaller nations participating in this tournament as they don’t get much practice playing at night. 

“We have identified few areas to improve. As you already know Uganda, this is the first World Cup and this was the first match under lights and we hardly get any practice under lights also,” Sharma said. 

A former first-class cricketer for Delhi and Railways, Sharma further added, “I've been telling them that don't look at the opponents, but definitely when you go in the field for the first time under lights and with that kind of opponent it comes in the mind of the players as far as Afghanistan was concerned.”

Uganda were bowled out for 58 against Afghanistan while chasing 184. Alongside playing under lights, the slow surface is another challenge for the smaller nations. However, it is one aspect common for all participating teams. But Sharma mentioned that smaller nations like Uganda may take a little more time to make those adjustments.

“As far as the surface is concerned, yes, the ball is stopping and coming. Nothing against the wicket because the wicket is the same for everyone. As international players, you have to adjust to that. But this team might take a little time. We have to be really patient with these kinds of players,” he said. 

“You never know after 15 - 20 years you find that Uganda is holding the trophy somewhere,” he added. 

Sharma said it is crucial for these players to only focus on the plans instead of chasing after any set numbers. 

“As far as performance is concerned, we haven’t given any numbers to that. What we have told them – to try and execute the plans, whatever the plans are, whatever their roles are. So, if they implement the plans, the numbers will always increase. 

So, we are more concerned about executing the plans because if you give them targets, they might start feeling pressure. We are going through a process and trust me we have to be a little patient and they will they will be really different players in the coming time,” he assessed. 

Uganda are now gearing up to play PNG. For both teams, it is their first World Cup. PNG, however, was a part of the preliminary stage in the 2021 edition. 

“As far as tomorrow's game is concerned, we are really looking forward to upgrade our game, upgrade our skill sets, try, and execute that. It is all about executing. We can plan a lot of things but unless and until we execute things we might land up in all those kind of things but players are really looking forward for tomorrow's game and we are really positive about it,” Sharma said about the mood in Uganda’s camp ahead of their second fixture. 

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