Papua New Guinea ready to be the next fairy tale story of cricket
NEW DELHI: Papua New Guinea believes they could be Cricket The next story from poverty to wealth after securing a place among the sport's elite at the Twenty20 World Cup next year in Australia.
After three near-misses in the last six years, the 'Barramundis' under Assad Vala punched their tickets to Australia where they will join 15 other teams in Twenty20 Cricket 's biggest stage.
"Definitely the greatest moment for every Cricket er in the country," Vala told Reuters from Dubai where they finished runners-up in the Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers.
We were so close on so many occasions. To do the job this time, a lot of work has been done behind the scenes to get to where we are.
"It will open more doors for Cricket . More people will come and support Cricket , the sponsors and all those stuff," said the 32-year-old all-rounder.
Cricket PNG executive director Greg Campbell said the team had some quiet drinks, but that the celebration will be once they return home.
I don't think players know the magnitude of this until they go home, the former Australian player told Reuters.
Once they get home, they will understand and assimilate everything. They could do some more celebrations in the coming weeks.
As predicted, Vala and his men returned to the welcome of a hero on Monday.
PNG, if they reach the Super 12 stage in Australia, they will face traditional powers, but Campbell said that will not baffle a lot chasing bigger dreams.
"The long-term goal is to make the 50-overs World Cup. We want to perform at this stage consistently and we want to be the next rising Cricket associate powerhouse in the world.
Players know they have a lot of work to do. They are laying a legacy, a base for young people. It is no exception, we want to play consistently in this scenario.
Cricket has come a long way in PNG since the British missionaries introduced the game at the beginning of the 20th century.
They secured ODI status in 2014 and attracted most of their players from the coastal village of Hanuabada, considered the spiritual home of the game in the country.
"You can't put finger on it, but they just love it," Campbell said of the " Cricket -mad" village on the outskirts of Port Moresby.
The massively popular Liklik Cricket competition could be one of the reasons, he said.
The town closes on weekends ... with so many children playing in the street with houses on one side and the ocean on the other.
PNG has involved nearly 250.00 school students and 48% of them are girls, Campbell said.
His women's team went to a match to reach the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, but lost to Bangladesh in the semifinals of the standings.
Cricket PNG has introduced contracts to their elite men, women and rookie players though Cricket ers are encouraged to find other means of livelihood.
Campbell is grateful to the International Cricket Council for his help, but he wished there was more help from the governing body.
ICC is really good for the partner world, but I'm not the only associate CEO who is sitting here and says we need more money, he said.
We are very lucky in PNG that we make enough money outside of ICC with our sponsors.
I think there is a big gap between full members and the associated world. I will not try it at the ICC, but I think that gap could close a bit.