October 3, 2008

Player diaries

Fiji's bankers and soliders prepare themselves

Will Luke

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

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Posted by Ben on (October 4, 2008, 10:54 GMT)

Excellent idea to have some of the players blogging about their experiences in Tanzania. Good job Greg and well done cricinfo

Posted by Raza on (October 4, 2008, 6:15 GMT)

I have been following Fiji cricket now and again. I have been out of touch lately but I hope that the selection process now is a bit more fairer and organised. I remember when I was a kid and I used to go and watch the trials at the Albert Park sometimes. Two weeks later you would hear the team announced and half of the team wouldn't have been at the trials. It made you wonder. Hopefully things have changed since then for the better. Greg has made some very good comments on his blog. I also know his father, from memory he also was a reputable bank employee, I hope he still is. Fiji cricket needs people who love the game in positions like his so they can create awareness and get some nice sponsorships. Unfortunately, as is the case in most sporting circles in developing countries, some choose to use their positions to use the sport and benefit themselves. Together with Greg, his team mates and a lot of cricket loving Fijians I hope that the team does well. Play with passion.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Luke
Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.

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