Amini carrying on family legacy


The name Amini needs little introduction when it comes to Papua New Guinea cricket.
Charles Amini Jr, affectionately known as ‘CJ’, is the vice-captain of the national men’s cricket team (Barramundis) who made history it October of last year when they qualified for this year’s T20 World Cup in Australia.
Papua New Guinea have never appeared a T20 World Cup since the tournament’s inception in 2007.
Amini followed in the footsteps of his big brother Chris Amini and father Charles Amini to make his mark in the game.
“Cricket has been in my family for a long time and I guess it was just part and parcel for me to take it up and love the game,” he said.
The leg spinner got his hands on the bat and ball at the age of four when playing backyard cricket with his family while residing in Melbourne at the time.
His love for the game grew when the family would often go to the Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch Australia in action, particularly legendary spinner Shane Warne.
The Barramundi No.92 made his international debut against Samoa in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2013 and it was during this tour that he was handed the baggy black alongside teammates Norman Vanua and Lega Siaka.
“The feeling was overwhelming,” the former Port Moresby International School student said.
“I remember not scoring much in that game, but just being on the field and playing with the national team was unbelievable.”
The team eventually won the tournament, giving Amini a lot more confidence for future tours.
But the road to such a milestone hasn’t been an easy one. Amini said there had been a lot of challenges and sacrifices that had to be made.
One of the main sacrifices was spending time with family.
“We don’t host a lot of home games, so we are always travelling and that means we leave our families behind to go and play,” he said.
“We’ve played in some countries where the time difference is unfavourable and we don’t talk to our families for long or even not talk at all. But these challenges are what have got us here today.”
Amini recalled the historical moment when PNG had earned their place at the T20 World Cup.
“That was a very special moment,” he said.
“It was so emotional as we were all in tears.
“It was nothing like I’d felt before.
“It was one of the greatest moments of my life.
“I still get goosebumps when I think of it or when I watch the highlights of last year’s World Cup qualifier.
“It was a team effort. The team’s vibe, culture and belief, everything worked out perfectly.”
When asked about the Barramundis, Amini said it was a balanced squad.
“The banter around the team is something that creates a special bond for everyone,” he said.
“People like Kipling (Doriga) are who you need in a team.
“Everyone is funny, their own ways make the group so much fun to be with.”
Apart from his sporting career, Amini’s goal is to attain a degree.
He hopes to move into cricket administration after retiring from the game.
“Anything is possible, and the Barras are ready and determined to do well,” Amini said.

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