Barramundis set to leave country for World Cup qualifiers


THE national men’s cricket squad will leave for Singapore on Sunday for a twenty-20 (T20) international series prior to their World Cup qualifiers, after the cancellation of their South African tour due to visa issues.
Head coach Carl Sandri told The National yesterday that the series against Singapore would serve as a great preparation for the qualifiers in Zimbabwe from July 8-9.
“It will be a hotly-contested series, given we are ranked one position higher (19) than Singapore on the International Cricket Council T20 rankings,” he said.
“The touring squad will again be captained by Assad Vala. I’m excited to see the players express their skills over this next period of international T20 cricket.
“They have prepared well on the back of the Boroko Motors Isuzu Cup and specific training for T20 cricket.
“It’s an exciting period of cricket coming up over the next month and I know the team have the ability to perform successfully on the international stage.”
When asked about the Papua New Guinea Barramundis’ depth, Sandri said he was excited about the flexibility and dynamic of the squad.
“Hila Vare has been selected for his first tour as a Barramundi on the back of some exciting performances in the recent Domestic Isuzu Cup competition,” he said.
“These players have all been selected to play very specific roles in the T20 series against Singapore (who are ranked 20) and the qualifiers.
“The qualifiers include Zimbabwe, Netherlands, Singapore, Uganda, Hong Kong and the United States.”
When asked about Jack Gardner’s exclusion from the Barramundis, Sandri said the Australian-based youngster had suffered a serious back injury. “He recently had another flare-up of his injury and we didn’t feel it was a good idea to risk him,” he said.
“We see him as a big X-factor and exciting bowler who we’d like to see in the team for the long term.
“We want to see him recover and prepare his body physically for a long, consistent run in international cricket with the Barramundis,” said Sandri.
Meanwhile, Sandri announced that Hiri Hiri, Nosaina Pokana and John Boge Reva were named as non-travelling reserves and will be called into the squad in the event of an injury.