Uganda’s Benjamin Musoke Retires From Cricket

Musoke (L), who guided Tornado to the National Division 1 League title last year, walks off the crease yesterday after his last appearance for Uganda in T20 cricket. Photo Courtesy
Musoke (L), who guided Tornado to the National Division 1 League title last year, walks off the crease yesterday after his last appearance for Uganda in T20 cricket. Photo Courtesy

There is a common adage in the game of cricket, that the older you get, the finer you become as is the case with wine.

There are several players who back up that theory. From Kenneth Kamyuka to Joel Olwen and Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

And that’s being miserly with the greats whose folklore has dominated East African cricket to this very day.

When Benjamin Musoke announced that he’ll be stepping down after a 20 year career in the game to concentrate on his clearing and forwarding business, we felt cheated.

However, his reasons were justifiable. It is needless to refer the skeptics to the regional bowling rankings.

“I have played my best cricket, I have given the very best for my country, I feel it’s time I leave it for the young blood,” explained Musoke.

The 2012 Multiple Industries Division I League’s Most valuable player (MVP) had earlier also retire from the T20 national side.

Maybe Uganda’s relegation back to the ICC World Cricket Division 3 over the weekend could have been the final straw.

This came as a surprise since prior to the ICC T20 tournament, he’d joked that he was not about to retire—however before the week was over, the 36-year old had already informed the press about his resignation.

Musoke cut his teeth in the national side fold during the U-19 tournament in 1997 when he played for the East Africa team in Malaysia.

He hails from a rich tradition of products refined from Busoga College Mwiri, along with medium pace seamer and former captain, Kenneth Kamyuka and Junior Kwebiiha who held the fort for Uganda even before her admission to Division II.

“I thought about this for two years… [For] now, I will concentrate on the longer formats of the game and my businesses,” he glibly told journalists.

That would mean that he was not going to be part of the side that would defend the Africa Division I title against Kenya. Musoke was instrumental when he got off to a quick 19 n.o off 18 balls with three boundaries in last year’s final against Namibia, a match Uganda eventually won.

On the fateful day, Benjamin Musoke aka “Benzo” hit 8 off four balls as Uganda set Botswana with 156/7, a game the hosts eventually won by 32 runs.

He was asked to captain the side in the 10th over which he did admirably maintaining a 100 percent record with their sixth straight win.

It was the match announcer who blew the lid off the case as he went about his ceremonial prematch player introductions when he confirmed that Benjamin Musoke was retiring from Twenty20 cricket for the national side.

As he strolled out of the club house to bat (he was left to bat last), the Botswana players gathered round to give Benzo a befitting guard of honour.

Later, his team mates were to offer him more bromance in the form of monster hugs and pats while then coaches, Martin Suji and Steve Tikolo invited the rest of the squad and the travelling fraternity of fans thronged the scene as they offered a prayer for him.

The Uganda national team will miss Benzo, who was distinguishable on the field because he bowled with his sunglasses on and collar turned up and who always challenged opposing batsmen to take him on.

In an emotional phone chat with our reporter, Musoke said he wanted to be remembered primarily as someone who loved playing the game.

“”It really annoys me when people out there take it for granted and get above their station … it’s the most privileged thing any man can do.”

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