The National, Thursday October 10th, 2013
STAR opening batsman Assad Vala and leg spinning all rounder, Charles Amini have created history for Papua New Guinea and the East-Asia Pacific region by being the first players to be signed by Australian teams in the T20 Big Bash League.
The history making achievement will see Vala, pictured, head to Big Bash League 2 Champions Brisbane Heat, while Amini will head to the Sydney Sixers for the upcoming Big Bash League 3 season.
The breaking news comes as a major boost for the Barramundis who are attempting to qualify for two world cup tournaments in the next three months.
Vala and Amini come under Cricket Australia’s new rookie initiative where CA will to fund a community rookie player and a development rookie player for each team in 2013-14.
The community rookie contracts may comprise of players from rural communities, indigenous backgrounds, low socio-economic areas and those from non-English speaking backgrounds.
The development rookie contracts will be available to players under the age of 21 who are eligible to represent Australia under ICC eligibility rules or are an approved resident.
Players will not be part of their BBL team’s squad of 18 players, but they can be signed on as a replacement player in the event of an injury to a squad member.
The new concept is part of a wider plan to provide opportunities to players who might not otherwise be identified as one of Australian cricket’s pathway programmes, with all teams to sign two players.
Vala and Amini come under the community rookie player contract and were elated when they signed for their respective teams.
“I’m pretty excited by the opportunity given to me by Brisbane Heat. It’s another stepping stone for me. It’s going to be huge training with the Heat boys and I am looking forward to it,” Vala said.
“I’ve been training well with the Barras and am looking forward to the challenge. I want to thank Brisbane Heat for the opportunity they’ve given me and want to thank my family and Cricket PNG and everyone else who has played a part for me to get here.”
“Still can’t believe that I’ve got a contract overseas. I’ll try and make the most of it when I go to Sydney and I’ll learn as much as I can from the state and national players,” Amini said. “I want to thank my family, friends and Cricket PNG for their support and help. They’ve always pushed me to do what’s best for me. I want to thank my Barras for their support as well.”
Cricket PNG general manager, Greg Campbell was delighted when he received news of the duo’sdeal.
“It’s now up to these two guys to take this opportunity and go even further. I want to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors who have played a part in Cricket PNG’s success thus far.”
Vala and Amini took part with the Barramundis in the SACA Premier League and travelled with the team to Adelaide in preparation for the ICC World T20 Qualifiers.
Vala left for Brisbane on Tuesday to play with the Norths Cricket Club and train with the Brisbane Heat, while Amini will join the Sydney Sixers squad after the Barramundis return from the ICC World T20 Qualifiers in November.