ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier 2011-12 March 4, 2012

T20 qualifiers chance for PNG to leave mark - Dikana

ESPNcricinfo staff

Rarva Dikana, the Papua New Guinea captain, hopes to use the World Twenty20 qualifiers in the UAE to announce his country's presence in world cricket. PNG are hoping to be one of two teams to qualify for the World T20 in Sri Lanka in September.

Dikana is positive about his side's chances and thinks T20 is the perfect form of the game for his players' style of cricket. But PNG have a tough ask to upset the odds and reach the final of the 16-team qualifying tournament.

"We see it as an opportunity to stamp our mark as a cricketing nation," Dikana said. "Natural flair is the trademark of the team and the T20 format suits our style. We also have a strong ground-fielding unit with very athletic young players."

Ten of PNG's squad have been playing club cricket in Australia. "Almost every player in the team has spent time playing cricket in Australia in the last two years which is in line with our preparation for the tournament.

Asad Vala is having a good season with the bat and Joel Tom is the leading wicket-taker for his club. So they are two of the players to watch out for."

The qualifiers mark a new era for PNG, with new coach Peter Anderson taking charge for the first time. Anderson replaced former Australia fast bowler Andy Bichel, who left to become an Australian national selector in November.

"Peter is a former first-class cricketer who played a lot for Queensland. He still plays at club level in Australia and is full of energy," Dikana said. "I'm sure that energy will be transferred onto the players."

Another new addition to the PNG squad is former England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones. Having been born in PNG, Jones is going back to his roots to resume his international career after a six-year absence.

"The players are excited to meet him and can't wait to take the field alongside him," Dikana said. "We are training with Geraint in a five-day pre-tournament camp in Canberra.

"He is a good inclusion in the side, given his capabilities to perform at the highest levels of cricket, and pretty much balances our batting department. He will be the second-choice wicketkeeper for the tournament, he has been spoken to in that regard and he understands his role in the team."

Jones played in 34 Tests and helped England regain the Ashes in 2005. He will need to provide a significant contribution to help PNG qualify from Group A. Afghanistan and the Netherlands are the two highest-ranked sides in the group, which also contains Bermuda, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong and Nepal.

PNG begin their World T20 qualifying campaign against Afghanistan on March 13 in Dubai.

Edited by Alex Winter

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Alan on March 5, 2012, 10:51 GMT

    @Mendis: GoJo never actually retired, since he's been playing domestic cricket in England all this time. However, he hasn't been picked for England for about five years, so seems now to be eligible to play for PNG, where he was born. There seems to be a spate of players recently who once played for major teams and were discarded concentrating their ambitions on the Associate nations (eg. Anderson Cummins for Canada in the 2007 world cup, Gavin Hamilton for Scotland, Ed Joyce for Ireland, Michael du Venuto for Italy, and now Geraint Jones for PNG). What next: Mike Kasprowicz to come out of retirement and play cricket for Poland? :)

  • maihan on March 5, 2012, 3:42 GMT

    Afghanistan will win this this tournament because Afghanistan national cricket team is now so strong with bat and bowl and field and i hope all every afghan pray for has team Afghanistan zenda bad

  • Sean on March 5, 2012, 2:13 GMT

    PNG are a very fast growing nation and I have no doubt that they will qualify giving all the work they have done. They have amazing players comign through the ranks

  • Andrew on March 4, 2012, 21:16 GMT

    @Ibrahim Mahmoodi - I'm hoping for an Afghanistan v PNG final!

  • Lakmal on March 4, 2012, 17:29 GMT

    Geraint Jones!!! OMG...So he is coming out of the retirement.?

  • Alan on March 4, 2012, 14:30 GMT

    Interesting that the former England wicket keeper isn't considered good enough to keep wicket for Papua New Guinea ... presumably they haven't asked Duncan Fletcher for his opinion about that ...

  • Hritam on March 4, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    Papua New Guinea is developing really fast with some real quality players. They of course very soon be one of the top associates. I genuinely believe that players like Christopher Kent, Raymond Haoda, keeper Jack Vare, the captain Dikana, Asad Vala and the young and promising Joel Tom son successful in the Aussie club cricket could one day become genuine Test-level players. By the way, I can remember that the picture shown above is that of Dikana bowling USA batsman Rashard Marshall in the WCL Div. 3 tournament. All the best, PNG.

  • Dummy4 on March 4, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    Afghanistan will win this game and the tournament inshallah.

  • No featured comments at the moment.