The National, Wednesday June 18th, 2013
THE Papua New Guinea Under-19 cricket team will travel to Darwin in a fortnight to play against Australia, India and New Zealand.
The Garamuts then return to Queensland as they seek to qualify for their fourth consecutive ICC U19 Cricket World Cup.
Having won the past three East Asia-Pacific U19 events, the Garamuts are shaping up as the Pepsi ICC EAP U19 Trophy favourites and are hoping the Darwin trip will provide the ideal preparation for a cutthroat final against either Vanuatu, Fiji or Samoa.
“In Darwin we’ll be playing against future test players. It’s a terrific opportunity for the guys,” assistant coach John Ovia said.
“Our aim (in Darwin) is to get some confidence and learn as much as possible from the tournament, then come to Brisbane for the EAP final.”
The Garamuts will play the winner of a tri-series between Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu, with the winner earning direct entry into the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2014 in Dubai.
Ovia said the PNG side had been in training since March and would take confidence from a recent win over Zimbabwe as well as playing regular domestic cricket.
“Everybody’s looking forward to the trip.
“I think all the guys are in good shape because of the Hebou Shield (PNG’s premier men’s league). The competition is a very high standard, and the guys seem to be playing good cricket.
“I think the strengths of the PNG team that beat Zimbabwe were our spirit, and doing the small things right on the day. It’s something I will never forget,” Ovia (pictured) said.
Captain Dogodo Bau will be a key player for the team as the opening batsman and wicketkeeper is one of two players remaining from the win over Zimbabwe last year.
Ovia highlighted top order batsman Riley Hekure, all-rounder Sakavai Gebai and big-hitting fast bowler Nosaiana Pokana as three potential match-winners in his side.