Last week, the cricket fraternity dined and wined away at the MTN Arena in Lugogo on a night Roger Mukasa was crowned 2014 cricket player of the year.
Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda was the guest of honour. It has been a fairytale year for Tornado Bees all-rounder. Even with so much Pepsi-Cola, Club beer and delicious food to savour, nothing could beat the journey that Mukasa has lived this year. With 549 runs and 13 wickets to his name, he helped the Tornado Bees defend their national league title unbeaten.
It was a remarkable comeback for the player, whose career had taken a nosedive in the past two years. In 2013, he only played six of the 14 league games and scored 123 just runs. His highest runs haul that season was only 41 runs. Mukasa was clearly going through a bad spell.
In 2012, Mukasa had played 12 games for Patidar and scored 327 runs, which was fifth best in the league. And in 86 overs bowled, he picked 20 wickets, placing him tenth overall. And in 2011, a year in which Patidar won the league, Mukasa scored 439 runs in 12 games, an average of 43.9 runs per game. He picked 15 wickets in 66.4 overs.
Even for the Cricket Cranes, Mukasa was out of sorts. At the ICC World Cricket League Division three championship in Bermuda in March 2013, Mukasa could only score 94 runs in six one-day games. Furthermore, in the ICC 2014 World Cup T20 Qualifiers in November 2013 that were hosted by the UAE, Mukasa only recorded 38 runs in seven innings.
Yet that bad run ran into early 2014. Mukasa only managed to feature in four games of the ICC 2015 World Cup qualifiers in New Zealand in January. He scored 95 runs. Uganda finished last and were relegated again to division three.
But for his recent exploits in the ICC Division Three World Cricket League tournament in Malaysia in October, he was voted man-of-series for his 265 runs haul and 13 wickets in six games. He was the second best batsman and bowler in Malaysia, where Uganda were runners-up to Nepal and qualified to division two.
“I was delighted to play my part for my team to win and it’s through hardwork that the 2013 season is now behind me,” said Mukasa during the Uganda Sports Press Association (Uspa) dinner at Imperial Royale hotel on November 13, when he was crowned sports personality of the month of October.
The Uganda Cricket Association (UCA) award to Mukasa, which came with a trophy, a plaque and a $1,000 prize, was the ultimate crowning moment for Mukasa one that he will be expected to extend by inspiring Uganda to success in Namibia in January 2015 because a cricketer is as good as his next game.
Mukasa will also get his share of $20,000 that the Cricket Cranes won.
Source : The Observer