By HUXLEY LOVAI
PAPUA New Guinea cricket coach Dipak Patel says the four-day match against Namibia will be the biggest challenge for the Barramundis as they meet the tourists on Sunday at Amini Park in Port Moresby.
Patel, a former New Zealand test and one day player, told The National that the Intercontinental Cup fixture would be a true test of the skill and mental endurance of the Hebou Barramundis.
The 57-year-old said the Barramundis lacked sufficient game time in the longer format at the international level and the ICC-sanctioned match would be testing for the home side.
“Over the four-day match, there is a lot of mental endurance that the players need to understand, and it’s difficult for our guys, we just don’t have that experience,” the Nairobi-born Patel said.
Promising results for the Barramundis during their recent South Australian Cricket Association campaign in their two-day matches including a 246-run victory over the Northern Territory Strike says the national side can adapt their natural flair to a more patient and grinding style.
In their second two-dayer, the Barramundis were unlucky not to win their encounter against the Western Grit after rain stopped play with the Barramundis 19 short of victory.
“The two-day games, during the last two rounds of the SACA League were the ideal preparation.
“There were certain plans and strategies that we worked on, we didn’t get it 100 per cent right but we were pretty close.
“I was very encouraged to see how quickly we were able to go from the shorter form to the longer form.
“There are some very good signs, but when you start playing international cricket it’s a totally different level,” Patel said
These encouraging results should give the Barramundis a boost in confidence as they face Namibia.
Patel stressed that physical fitness was not an issue for the team.
“Our guys are very fit; we don’t have an issue there. It’s the mental endurance that will have a bearing,” Patel said.
“In these situations, it will be important for the Barras to remain alert and be ready to claim wickets or score runs.”
By HUXLEY LOVAI