Barras set sights on qualifiers


THE national men’s cricket squad will be joined by head coach Carl Sandri this week to ramp up preparations for their Twenty-20 (T20) World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe from July 8-9.
The Barramundis are competing in the premier domestic competition, the Isuzu Cup, as part of their campaign to qualify for their second World Cup appearance with the inclusion of Australian-based Jack Gardener.
This will be the first time since the entire Barramundis squad train and play together in the country since they qualified for their maiden World Cup in 2019.
Barramundis skipper Assad Vala told The National on Friday that having the entire squad, including the coach, would their preparations as they work on building their team spirit for the qualifiers.
“This is another opportunity for us in bringing the team together, that’s what we did well when we qualified for the World Cup (in 2019),” he said.
“It’s good that everyone is here, training together, playing together and seeing each other.
“As Papua New Guineans, we’re like brothers, we like to stick together, so I think having them here plays a part in training well.
“Hopefully, we can qualify for another World Cup.
“This is the first week of the Isuzu Cup, so we’re using it in the preparations leading up to the qualifiers in Zimbabwe in a month’s time.
“We’re trying to use it as a stepping stone to selecting the best possible team. At the moment, we’re just playing 50-over cricket. After that, we’ll get into T20 cricket which is important because the qualifiers in Zimbabwe are T20 cricket. It will be really good having the best players playing in the national league. This gives the coach an opportunity to get the best plans and combinations for us to try and give us another opportunity to qualify for the World Cup. We need to be better for a longer period of time in T20 cricket especially.”