Uganda March 18, 2010

Crossing boundaries in Uganda

Colin Macbeth

Colin Macbeth

A tremendous six into the pavilion from veteran Richard Davies summed up the success of Cricket Without Boundaries' dynamic coaching tour of Uganda earlier this month.

The tour took in landslide-struck Mbale, and Mbarara, Kasese and Fort Portal in the west - from where raw talent is reported - before gravitating to the capital, Kampala, where the Uganda Cricket Association chairman's boys - and girls - took on the tourists and their local assistants in a lively 25-over exhibition match.

Eventually Davies' six did it, and a graceful couple of singles sealed the visitors' victory.

Cricket Without Boundaries has certainly set out its marker in Uganda, where the game is being played with growing enthusiasm among the youth - and, indeed, among some of the old.

The exhibition match at a good-looking Lugogo stadium - and, incidentally, attended by far more people than saw Kenya and Netherlands in the Intercontinental Cup in Nairobi last month - dovetailed nicely with the start of the Ugandan cricket season, which the next day witnessed star-studded Premier trounce newcomers Warriors and Wanderers beat KICC in the keenly contested Luswata Cup.

Richard, who has visited East Africa with Cricket Without Boundaries seven times and will be coaching in Kenya's Rift Valley region next week, is optimistic. "It is excellent how the cricket is coming on here," he said.

In Nakuru and beyond, Cricket Without Boundaries, part of whose brief is to deliver an anti-HIV message, will have a role in helping heal some of the wounds still apparent in the area following post-election ethnic bloodletting in 2008.

The tour also coincides with the Rift Valley Festival at Lake Naivasha, which purports to be part of the healing process.

For cricket, as all know, is a great 'healer and bonder'; and Cricket Without Boundaries' brave, voluntary approach - "those who come are people who want to do it," says Richard - is paying off in more ways than six in many places outside cricket's regular reference points.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo