Former cricket representative passes on


THE cricket community is mourning the passing of former national representative bowler Tuku Raka who was known as ‘Thunder’ for the pace of his deliveries and his consistency.
“It is with great sadness that Cricket Papua New Guinea (CPNG) has learnt of the passing of former Barramundi Tuku Raka today,” the sport’s national governing body said in a statement yesterday. “He will be sadly missed in the cricket community and will be remembered as a great servant to his nation through the sport he loved.”
Tuku’s cricket career started following the footsteps of his father Raka Tuku.
In domestic competition, he played for Hoods in Lae and Port Moresby. In his early 20s, he debuted for the national side during the International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy tournament in Birmingham, England, in 1986.
“One of Tuku’s outstanding moments in his career was when the Barramundis faced Hong Kong in their last pool game before the quarterfinals of the 1986 ICC Trophy Tournament,” CPNG said.
“Hong Kong was a wicket away from victory when Tuku walked out as the last batsman. PNG needed 30 runs to reach the target. In the last overs, Tuku hit three sixes and four fours to propel the team to the quarterfinals.”
Raka, known as ‘Thunder’ due to his pace and performances, is one of only four players who represented the country in five ICC Trophy tournaments from 1986 to 2001.
The others are the late Kota Ilaraki, also from Keapara, Rigo, Hula’s late Vavine Pala and Hanuabada’s Tau Au.
“Tuku was regarded as the country’s No.1 bowler from 1986 to 2001,” CPNG said.Former captain William Maha said Tuku as one of the country’s best cricketers.
“For me, he was one of the key players for Hoods and the Barramundis,” he said. “He was a great person on and off the field. A man of few words, very humble, committed and loyal.”
The CPNG board, management and staff passed their condolences to Raka’s family and friends.