By TRAVERTZ MABONE
THE Papua New Guinea Garamuts were welcomed back in the country on Saturday by cheerful relatives and fans after their three-week International Cricket Council U19 Cricket World Cup stint in New Zealand.
The Garamuts finished in 12th place, bettering their previous 13th position from last year.
Team manager Lakani Oala said on Saturday that the team had made a very big impression on the world stage.
He added that in the previous tournaments the Garamuts use to be outclassed by other teams, however this time they showed very competitive figures.
Oala added: “In these sorts of high level matches weaknesses are exposed and one notable improvement that the Garamuts need to work on is facing the spinners as they had quite a hard time with the spinners on the turf wickets.”
The Garamuts put on quite a performance that test playing nations such as Zimbabwe and others such as the United States are now ranked well behind PNG.
Oala also said nine of the current players still qualified for the next world cup and should add on with experience if they get selected.
Six players will begin their scholarship placements in Australia and New Zealand as part of the Brian Bell Future Stars programme with matches starting on Saturday.
Raymond Haoada Jr and Heni Siaka will be returning to Christchurch while Vagi Oala, Steven Eno, John Boge Reva and Tony Ura will start in Melbourne and will remain there until March.
Cricket PNG general manager Bill Leane thanked all the boys for their dedication, commitment and sacrifices.
He offered words of consolation and encouragement and asked all the boys to savour the special memories from the matches and the tour and to capitalise on the opportunities that they had been given.
Leane also thanked Hebou Construction represented by Mitch Lutschini on tour and Brian Bell stores represented by Sir Brian as the ICC approved Cricket PNG national teams’ sponsors and Air Niugini for their assistance over many months in providing travel and first class care for the team.
The ICC U19 World Cup was claimed by Australia who defeated Pakistan by 25 runs in New Zealand on Saturday.