By PARTICIA KEAMO
THE national Under-19 men’s cricket squad will be departing tomorrow for World Cup in the West Indies.
The 15-man squad, four officials and three non-travelling reserves passed their last Coronavirus (Covid-19) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on Wednesday.
They are isolating in a hotel.
Head coach Rodney Maha told The National that they were expected to arrive in the West Indies on Monday ahead of their warm-up matches before the World Cup bat-off on Jan 14.
“Our flight leaves Port Moresby at 11:30am on Saturday for Singapore then we’ll transit to Paris, France,” he said.
“It’s a 15-hour flight to France then we’ll make some more transits before arriving on Monday.”
According to the International Cricket Council, the Garamuts are scheduled to play two warm-up matches against the United Arab Emirates (Jan 11, PNG time) and England (Jan 13).
“We are hoping that we play these two matches, given that the players didn’t have any test matches or international friendlies due to the Coronavirus,” Maha said.
“This will be a good experience for them because everyone, barring the captain, does not have experience playing abroad. The warm-up matches will be a test for them before our main World Cup fixtures.
“England and UAE are good teams and I’m sure our players will give them a good match.
“Playing against these two teams will prepare them to face the teams in our pool – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Zimbabwe.
“Like we worked on training, we won’t play fancy, we’ll just stick to the basics and do our best in every game.”
Meanwhile, the contingent set to depart tomorrow includes the 15-man squad, Maha, team manager Rio Fiocco, strength and conditioning coach Otto Wrakonei and team analyst Magiaua Vanua.
The Garamuts will stay in a bubble until they leave for Jackson International Airport at 9am tomorrow.
Fixtures: Jan 11 — PNG v United Arab Emirates; Jan 13 – PNG v England (warm-up matches); Jan 16 – PNG v Pakistan; Jan 19 – PNG v Afghanistan; Jan 21 – PNG v Zimbabwe.
By PARTICIA KEAMO