Bravo to mentor PNG cricketers
West Indies ODI captain Dwayne Bravo has signed on as a development mentor and ambassador to Cricket Papua New Guinea. Bravo will be joined by team-mate Kemar Roach, and former captain, Richie Richardson during the course of this week to help groom cricketers in PNG through coaching clinics and other circuits.
"Advancing the game of cricket in developing nations of the world is something I have always wanted to become involved in," said Bravo. "A cricketer today is a role model to millions and I wanted to use this opportunity to pass my knowledge, skills and expertise onto promising new talent and use my own experiences and leadership aptitude to motivate youth across the world."
Cricket PNG Chief and former Australia cricketer Greg Campbell was looking forward to the trio's participation in the efforts to better cricket in the region. "Papua New Guinea is a cricket-mad nation and our team has historically always looked up to West Indies cricketers," he said. "In fact, the West Indies were the first international team to tour PNG back in 1975 and our cricketers look to emulate their entertaining style of play and their spirit of the game. The atmosphere and excitement in the air that Dwayne Bravo, Kemar Roach and Richie Richardson are coming to town, has been astonishing."
As ambassador, Bravo will make sponsored visits across schools, academies and rural communities throughout greater Port Moresby to assist with junior participation programs and use cricket as a platform to motivate and inspire the youth. Bravo's inputs will come in handy, especially on the back of the PNG Under-19s beating Vanuatu Under-19s in the final of the East Asia-Pacific Championship in July.
Bravo will also act as a mentor to Papua New Guinean cricketers and help them with their efforts to acclimatise on the world stage and catch the eye of talent scouts of professional T20 franchises around the world.
PNG has enjoyed previous attention from former Test cricketers with Andy Bichel having enjoyed a successful two-year tenure as coach before stepping down in 2011. He was succeeded by Brad Hogg, who relinquished the post following his recall to the Australian T20 side. Former England wicketkeeper and PNG-born Geraint Jones was part of their campaign during the 2012 World T20 qualifiers in the UAE.
PNG, who are ranked 19th in the world, will participate as a national team in the inaugural South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) T20 Premier League that begins this month. They will then travel to Dubai in November to take part in the World T20 Qualifiers, where a top six finish would see them qualify for the World T20 in Bangladesh. In January, PNG will fight for one of the remaining two spots in the World Cup 2015 at the Qualifier tournament in New Zealand.
Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. He tweets here