Rwanda captain Clinton Rubagumya distinctly remembers the bellows from a previous national team coach as the country’s best cricketers repeatedly turned their head in the opposite direction during fielding practice.
“Why aren’t you looking at the ball?” the coach demanded. “But for us to survive, we had to play this type of way,” says Rubagumya.
Experience had necessitated a raft of idiosyncrasies upon Rwanda’s players.
Growing up only able to play cricket on dirt football pitches, a number of them had lost their front teeth courtesy of a ball hitting a rough patch and ricocheting dangerously upwards.
“So you learned to collect it with your face looking away,” explains Rubagumya.
He still remembers his first thought upon arriving for a match in South Africa a few years ago – his debut game outside of Rwanda: “This is a carpet! How can you get injured here?”
Few roads in qualification for the 2024 T20 World Cup have been as…