Kampala [Uganda], July 4 (ANI): For Uganda vice-captain Deusdedit Muhumuza, when he steps out onto the cricket pitch he is not just one man playing the sport he loves, he embodies the almost 46 million people who make up his country.
The 32-year-old was born in Kakira in the east of Uganda and learned cricket from the Asian community he lived alongside as they passed on their devotion to the game to him.
Muhumuza made his debut for Uganda in 2010 before earning T20I cap No 4 as the Cricket Cranes gained international status in 2019 and is now hoping to guide them through the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier B.
"It means a lot when the anthem is being sung. You're remembering the 45 million Ugandans you are representing. Remembering all those who have trusted you and given up their time just to make you better. You have an opportunity to go out and fight for your country, the country that you love most," the batting all-rounder said in a statement.
"The three colours that you just want to take forward is black, yellow, and red. Representing just gives inspiration to others. You have the opportunity to inspire the kids throughout Uganda, they want to make it to the big stage, and you have the opportunity in your hands to give them that platform," he added.
Muhumuza's journey to international cricket gathered pace as he attended Busoga College Mwiri, a leading cricket school in Uganda.
But even before then he had been hoovering up all knowledge he could get from his older brothers, with the goal of pulling on the black, yellow and red always in the distance.
He added: "I grew up around an Asian community so I got to learn about cricket easily because that is what they speak and is this what they love most. Then I went to the best cricket-playing school in Uganda and since then, it has just been a thrill for me.
"I had my brothers who went to the same school, and I read the papers and whatever they did, whatever they talked about, the cricket stars in the school, it gave me the motivation to knock on the doors of the school team.
"Cricket wasn't famous in Uganda, but my parents of course they had to come down and learn the game and watch what happens, how you play, how you gain from it, what does it teach you?"Of course, there are some sacrifices they make, so they had to balance out where their son comes in class and how he moves ahead with his passion for cricket. They have been very instrumental, and I can't thank them enough for that."Uganda are making their return to the ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier, having not featured since 2013 when they finished 13th.
The Cricket Cranes will hope to make their debut at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup by finishing as one of the two finalists in Qualifier B.
"I want to see Uganda play at the World Cup. It has been my dream ever since I began playing cricket. I want Uganda to get this feeling of what happens at the biggest stage of cricket. And that's what I'll be looking at even then as a leader, I want to see us walk out as the most agile, the most disciplined, the most fighting team that they have seen at the tournament," said the batter.
"It would mean a lot, there are kids out there who are talented, who just need that little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. It would inspire many people, it would increase the awareness of the game in this country, already it is growing rapidly, the World Cup would just be the final piece of the puzzle," he added. (ANI)