Fiji launches Elite Premier League
Fiji will become the latest non-Test country to run a domestic competition for its best players when the Elite Player League commences on Saturday.
The best 39 players from the islands will be placed into three teams - the Suva Capitals, the Sigatoka Dunes and the Western Bulldogs with each team playing four matches according to international ODI rules.
“The aim of the competition is to get the best players playing against each other on a regular basis,” said Cricket Fiji’s High Performance Manager, Steve Jenkin. “That way we will know who has earned their place in the national squad.”
Previously, national team players were spread throughout three or four leagues across the islands, and the better players only played each other at the annual Easter tournament.
Cricket Fiji officials see the League as a means to increase competition for places in the national team.
“If players are hoping to be in the team to Nepal for the World Cricket League Division Five next February, then they will have to perform well in this competition,” said Jenkin. “After all, they need to play well among the best players in Fiji, and this is what this competition is about – the best from Fiji.”
The introduction of the EPL is the latest phase in the growth of Fiji’s tournament structure to support the development of players for international cricket. This will continue later this month with the first Under-19 National Championship Tournament which will be played in November and December in two conferences – the Lau Conference and the Viti Levu Conference.
November 14: Sigatoka Dunes v Western Bulldogs (Army Barracks Ground)
November 21: Suva Capitals v Western Bulldogs (Lautoka)
November 28: Suva Capitals v Sigatoka Dunes (Army Barracks Ground)
December 5: Sigatoka Dunes v Western Bulldogs (Lautoka)
December 12: Suva Capitals v Western Bulldogs (Suva Army Barracks Ground)
December 19: Suva Capitals v Sigatoka Dunes (Lautoka)
Sigatoka Dunes - Viliame Yabaki (Capt.), Ilikena Bula, Sevunivola Baba, Sakove Ravoka, Joji Bulabalavu, Mosese Tarau, Lee Waqa, Vuli Tawatautau, Apolosi Lewai, David Kachor, Noa Acawei, Jikoi Kida, Patrick Tuidraki
Suva Capitals - Josefa Dabea (Capt.), Seru Tupou, Inoke Buadromo, Sakove Vouvou, Tanweer Shah, Tukana Tavo, Peni Rika, Peni Dakai, Albert Hill, Tasheed Tawheed, Vilikesa Driu, Omid Saberi, Iniasa Cakacaka
Western Bulldogs - Josefa Sorovakatini (Capt.), Saimoni Matasarasara, Logavatu Sorovakatini, Brice Philip, Eric Browne, Sakaraia Lomani, Rajeev Patel, Malcolm Bossley, Rahul Pala, Gaurang Patel, Greg Browne, Jone Sevou, Lajipa
Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo