The National, Thursday 02nd Febuary 2012
By LESLIE OMARO
FORMER Papua New Guinea fast bowler Kulu Loi passed away early yesterday morning after a long illness.
Loi from Babaka villge, Central, is survived by his five children and wife Liz from Hanuabada.
Loi’s former teammate Lakani Oala, who now works with Cricket PNG, confirmed his passing via email before lunch time yesterday.
“Cricket lost one of its former greats in left-hand swing bowler Kulu Loi early hours of this morning,” Oala said.
Loi was one of the best bowlers in his era and represented PNG in cricket at three ICC Trophy tournaments.
His first tournament was in London in 1982, the second in 1986 in Birmingham and the last tournament was in Holland in 1990.
Oala spoke highly of Loi, saying cricket in PNG had lost of its greatest bowlers.
“I started representing PNG in 1994 and that was also the time when Kulu was named in the Kenya squad.
“But at the local scene we started playing cricket together when he joined me at the United cricket club.
“He was a very talented bowler and could swing the ball both ways. Some of the great players he played with were Tau Au, Vavine Pala, Api Leka and William Maha to name a few.”
Oala said Loi started playing in the mid 1980s for Rigo cricket club and played with the likes of Raki Ila, Karo Au, Kila Area.
“He then went on to play with Elcom and some of his teammates were Imana Guma, Charles Amini, Tani Amini and Bill Baroa.
“He later joined United cricket club and played with me and Saroa Loa and after two seasons left to join the Colts cricket club.
“His last representative match was in 1994 when we went down to Cairns in preparation for our Kenya trip.”
“He was the best swing bowler and still holds some records like in one season when playing United he took 54 wickets.
“And in one of the national championships we played with he took eight wickets for seven runs against one of the lower ranked provincial teams.
“His got a bit of everything he can lose his temper very quickly but his was calm and cool guy someone who is pleasant to have with in a team.
“I can recall during the 1991 POM cricket grand final against Elcom when he (Loi) completely wrecked Elcom’s top batting line up.
“That was the first time, we (United) won the POM premier cricket competition and Kulu took five of the main wickets.
“Other cricketers who played in the final also were Tau Au, Tauna Aovai, Mea Udu, Saroa Loa and myself and that was a very strong United team.
“For those who knew him and played cricket with him will know it was a great loss,” Oala said.