Cricket: Barramundis ‘feeling good’ ahead of Men’s T20 World Cup

Papua New Guinea (PNG) Barramundis captain, Assadollah Vala, is confident the team will be able to perform to expectations at the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup held jointly by the West Indies and the United States.

Cricket PNG has announced Barramundis team that will compete in the Trinidad and Tobago from 25 May 25 to 29 June against some of the world’s best in the game.

The team departs Port Moresby this weekend and will go into a preparation camp for nine days in Saint Kitts, before moving to Trinidad for two official warm-up matches.

They play their first-round match on 2 June against former world champs the West Indies.

The team will also face Uganda, Afghanistan and New Zealand in pool play.

Vala told the media in Por Moresby they have prepared well and are confident they can do well.

“Our preparations have been going really well for the last couple of weeks with our coach Tatenda leading the way,” he said.

“It’s been tough over the last two weeks specifically with our strength and conditioning and skills training. But it’s been really good preparing the boys for this important tournament coming up.

“[There are] very minor injuries, nothing serious, we are feeling good and ready for the World Cup. Hopefully all the work we’ve been doing with Tatenda will pay off.”

Vala is one of the two co-captains named, the other being Charles Amini.

He said the players are focused, especially those that competed at the last world meet during the covid outbreak.

“The energy has also been great within the team. For some of the boys who went to the last T20 World Cup, it’s a different feeling now with a lot of the training because the last time was during covid, and the preparation wasn’t as good as what we’re going through now.

“I am looking forward to this event because I know we are going to do well.”

Exciting time for cricket in PNG

Cricket PNG chair,Michael Harrison said it’s an exciting time for cricket in the country.

“With the men’s and women’s Isuzu T20 Smash successfully completed, we head straight into international cricket again,” he said.

“Our PNG Siales departed this week for their Under-19 T20 World Cup EAP Qualifier, and we wish them all the best.

“Our PNG Barramundis also head off to the ‘big one’, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, which we’ve been waiting for since we qualified in July last year.”

The Barras preparation since December last year, under the watchful eye of Barramundis Coach, Tatenda Taibu included a 14-day camp in Brisbane plus a month-long tour of India, Oman, Hong Kong and Malaysia and the men’s domestic T20 Smash competition.

They will play two warm up matches each against Canada and Namibia in Saint Kitts before moving to Trinidad for two more games against Oman and Namibia.

“On behalf of the Board of Cricket PNG, I wish them all the best for the event. If hard work and passion count, our Barras deserve to do well,” Harrison added.

The PNG Barramundis squad named for the 2024 ICC T20 World Cup. Artwork: Cricket PNG

‘Giving 100 percent’ – coach

Coach Taibu said the team have had some good build-up matches.

He said the selection has been thorough and players have proven themselves.

“I have officially been with Cricket PNG since January this year and given that time, our selection process for the team to represent PNG at the T20 World Cup, has been fair to all players,” he said.

“We used the tour to India, Oman, Hong Kong and Malaysia to be the final test for selection, and we wanted the players to understand that selection comes from performances.

“If someone brings statistics and says that this is what I’ve been doing, performances with the bat, with the ball or with the gloves, then we are forced to look at that player, so that’s what we used and that’s the basis for all selections. It’s going to be performance-based which opens the door for selection for anyone who performs in the country.”

He said what is left now is for the players to have some hit-out against some strong opposition before they get into the world cup battle.

“I am extremely happy with the team that I’ve got, and the preparation has been going very well,” he said.

“After a short break following the Men’s Isuzu T20 Smash tournament, we have been working on our skills, and in the upcoming week until we depart, we will focus on the opposition that we will be playing against.

“Fitness wise the team is at the standard that we expect and want so everyone is playing at the best of their abilities. Giving one hundred percent is non-negotiable.”

Taibu had said in an earlier interview he was confident the team will cause some major upsets at the event.

Papua New Guinea will play their pool matches as follows:

  • 2 June vs West Indies
  • 6 June vs Uganda
  • 13 June vs Afghanistan
  • 17 June vs New Zealand

The Barramundis team: Assadollah Vala (captain), Charles Amini (vice-captain), Alei Nao, Chad Soper, Hila Vare, Hiri Hiri, Jack Gardner, John Kariko, Kabua Morea, Kipling Doriga, Lega Siaka, Norman Vanua, Sema Kamea, Sese Bao, Tony Ura.

Coaching staff: Tamzin Wardley (manager), Richard Done (chief executive), Tatenda Taibu (head coach), John Ovia (assistant coach), Nathan Reardon (specialist coach) Philip Simmons (specialist coach), Dr Najeebullah Soomro (medical officer), Hennah Joku (media manager), Siyih Johnag (physiotherapist), Harrison McConchie (analyst).

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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