CRICKET Fiji is interested in entering into a partnership with the Punjab Cricket Association in India.
The partnership could bring about an arrangement under which Fiji would tour Punjab one year and the Punjabis would visit Fiji the next.
Cricket Fiji (CF) high performance manager Josefa Rika confirmed they would tour Punjab in October next year for three weeks. He said they have received an expression of interest from the Punjab Cricket Academy to further their talks on the tour arrangement. Rika said they would continue talks next year, face to face, when they are in Punjab.
In the meantime, CF is looking at sending an under-17 and under-23 team to Vanuatu and Wellington respectively for international competitions to identify players to be part of the Fiji national team that will tour Punjab.
"We will select five of the best players from this under 17 and under 23 teams and include them in the 11-member senior team that will go for the tour along with four officials," he said.
"A tour of this magnitude will cost us over $80,000 according to our budget and we have already lodged an application for assistance to the Fiji National Sports Commission."
Rika said they aim to play up to three to four matches in a week during their three-week stay in Punjab.
"It would be a really good challenge for our players to test themselves against players of the most cricket-mad country in the world.
"The players there are very enthusiastic and skilful in cricket and that is the kind of challenge our players need."
He said the tour would be a good build-up before their East Asia Pacific (EAP) tournament in Sydney in Australia later in the year.
"That tournament is the qualifier to the World Cricket League Division 6 and the India tour will greatly benefit us when we compete in Sydney."