PNG aim high at Fiji qualifier, says Dawes

PORT MORESBY, 17 AUGUST 2018 (THE NATIONAL) – Papua New Guinea will take a team of young players to the 2020 ICC World T20 East Asia-Pacific qualifier with a winning mentality, says head coach and former Australian cricketer Joseph Dawes.

To win the qualifier and progress to the regional final next year, PNG need to beat Samoa, Vanuatu and hosts Fiji.

“The Barramundis have a great preparation under their belt to achieve their goals,” Dawes said.

“We go into every tournament with high expectations and this one is no different.

“We expect the team to play good cricket and the results will look after themselves.”

Captain Assad Vala said: “It is an exciting period for Cricket PNG to move on with this group of young players considering that a few of the senior players will not be present during the tournament.”

Looking to impress and make his debut is Steven Eno, a player Dawes said was an experienced club batsmen and wicketkeeper.

The return of Charles Amini Jr and Nosaina Pokana will also add value to the team, and Dawes said he was excited about the duo making an impact during matches.

According to a statement, the players had been working hard on all aspects of the game and were eager to get onto the field and put into play what they had been doing, especially after disappointing outings at their last two international tournaments.

Vala is one of the few Barramundis selected for the tournament and he has been working with the team to get accustomed to playing on an artificial pitch again.

“It has been a while since we played on an artificial pitch in an international tournament,” he said.

“But we will not use that as an excuse because we have been running our domestic competition on a synthetic pitch to prepare for the tournament.”

Vala said he was hoping that the tournament would give the young players a chance to gain more experience at an international level to develop a winning mentality.

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