Player diaries October 3, 2008

Fiji's bankers and soliders prepare themselves

Although we haven’t won any of our practice matches, the Fiji boys feel ready for the start of the tournament on Saturday.

Although we haven’t won any of our practice matches, the Fiji boys feel ready for the start of the tournament on Saturday.

Some of our players haven’t played on a turf wicket for 18 months so it has been useful to get to experience the conditions and adjust to the different bounce to the artificial wickets that we are used to playing on back at home.

I work as a bank officer back in Fiji and our team is made up of soldiers, a lecturer and a graphic designer. We are all lucky that our work has been very supportive in allowing us to prepare for this tournament and take the time off to represent our country.

Although rugby and soccer are probably the most popular sports back in Fiji, we have been receiving a lot of support. We even had the opportunity to go and meet the president before we departed which was a really good experience. It turned out that he used to play a bit of cricket himself, but I couldn’t find out too much more than that. In Fiji, it is tradition that when you are in the company of somebody so senior, you only speak when you are spoken to.

We play Afghanistan in our opening match of the tournament and we have heard that they have a really good bowling attack. I believe Italy are one of the favourites, while we found out yesterday that Hong Kong has a really strong team as well, with an excellent spin attack.

My main focus is to make sure I take plenty of wickets and try and make an important contribution with the bat at No.7, either taking my team to victory or rebuilding an innings if we have struggled early on.

It is the opening ceremony of the tournament today and I am hoping to have the opportunity to meet the players from other teams and talk to them not only about cricket, but what life is like back in their country. I have never been to any of the other five countries that we are playing against in the tournament so it is a good opportunity to learn about how other people live their lives.

I really enjoy having the opportunity to travel and meet people, so it is great that as well as getting a chance to play cricket in ICC events like this, I have the opportunity to experience different cultures.

My father used to play for Fiji and in his time there was never an opportunity to take part in events like the one we are playing in this week, which I think makes me appreciate being part of the squad at this tournament.

We are all desperate to do as well as we can in the next six matches and perhaps we can get the opportunity to experience some South American culture next January for Division 3 in Argentina.

Greg Browne is the Fiji batsman, one of a number of players blogging for Cricinfo their experience of the World Cricket League in Tanzania

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo