By Charles Mutebi
UCA National Cricket League
Highest scores in Division 1in 2014
Roger Mukasa (173)
Roger Mukasa (154)
Arthur Kyobe (119)
Frank Nsubuga (114)
Narinder Singh (101)
Highest scores in Division 2 in 2014
Nanji Pindoriya (213)
Abdulhamid Suleman (177)
Daniel Ruyange (157)
Chirag Patel (108)
Gorasia Patel (92)
It is arguably the utopia of the cricket fan.
And the 2014 UCA National Cricket League season is repeatedly making it accessible. Last week at Budo, the doors were smashed open by the record innings of Nanji Pindoriya.
The Kutch Tigers opener scotched 213 runs as his team crushed Mwiri SS by 296 runs in the UCA division 1 National Cricket League. Pindoriya now owns the biggest score in UCA league cricket this season even though the real value of his performance goes beyond a place in history.
In truth, it will only be known by the few who watched his 145-ball innings. How it went from a steady start, picked up pace in the middle before exploding into a ruthless finale. In the end, Pindoriya hit 24 fours and nine sixes.
It was – as is the case with such flabbergasting innings – a marvel of sport and a testament to the often underrated orgasmic capacity of cricket.
Of course when it comes to cricket scores, the big, bad figure is rarely the end of the story. In fact, it’s often just the beginning. Beyond the numbers is a layer of questions that can turn a seemingly impressive score into a spineless stat.
How was the quality of the bowling? How good was the fielding (how many times was he dropped for instance?) What about the size of the pitch, is the boundary too close to the crease?
Pindoriya was dropped four times although they were largely difficult catches at the boundary, with the ball landing out of bounds. The Budo outfield also has a downward slant that makes it batting friendly. Then, there is the fact that Pindoriya was facing a Mwiri side that is fifth in the second tier of national league cricket and could only manage a total of 66 runs in response to 362 runs.
In other words, there is material for a case against Pindoriya’s innings.
“When I first heard of it,” revealed newly-appointed men’s national team trainer Michael Ndiko, “of course I had to look at the whole picture.
“But ultimately I was impressed because it shows hunger and desire to stay on and get more runs”.
That last statement is one of the biggest defences of such big scores no matter the level of competition. For a batsman to keep batting when every run makes it more acceptable to let the guard down is creditworthy.
That urge to reach for new heights, not out of necessity but respect for your gift, is a trait borne of few sportsmen and it is often the difference between mediocrity and greatness.
Now Pindoriya can say he knows how it feels to score a double century. Who it came against and where is somewhat irrelevant. After all, it can’t be so easy if this is the first double ton of the campaign.
Over in division 1, a familiar name is responsible for the biggest individual score this season. In fact, Roger Mukasa has the top two – 173 against Jinja SS and 154 and the Wanderers.
Ndiko is excited about Mukasa’s return among the big figures in the local league after keeping under the statistical radar for the last two years. The national team trainer explained that Mukasa is entering that special zone of knowing how to optimally manage his natural explosiveness and acquired skills like pacing an innings.
“Mukasa’s big scores show a Roger that is back to his natural best,” explained Ndiko. “But what I really like about them is they show a hunger and determination to bat long. Of course, he thrives playing aggressive but he has now learnt to mix aggression with caution.”
In the final analysis, big scores remain cricket’s special delight, a rare dish that will never lose its appeal.
As Ndiko put it: “You can’t take anything away from the batsmen”.