Charles Amini targets 'doing a Scotland' against Bangladesh

With qualification equations steep, PNG batter says the team's first goal is to achieve a win

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Assad Vala and Charles Amini lead the team out  •  Michael Steele/ICC/Getty Images

Assad Vala and Charles Amini lead the team out  •  Michael Steele/ICC/Getty Images

Papua New Guinea will look to emulate Scotland in their final Group B match, when they take on Bangladesh on Thursday, and not think too much about the net run-rate equations. PNG need to win by a big margin to have any shot at qualifying for the Super 12s, but their primary aim will be to win the game rather than focus on that.
"It is our biggest opportunity," batting mainstay Charles Amini said on the eve of the game. "This will be our first test as a team against one of the best T20 teams going around. Although they lost the first game, they are still a good team. We are very proud of our efforts. We lost the first two games but we are hopeful that we still have a chance. Scotland caused an upset in the first game. We are pretty sure we can also do the same thing.
"I think the first thing would be to try to win the match. It'd be history in the making to win a game in the World Cup. Whatever happens after that is not in our control. If there's an opportunity to make it to the next round, we will try to work towards that."
Amini, a compact left-hand batter, has made 37 and 1 in PNG's two games so far, and is aware that this T20 World Cup also presents an opportunity for scouts and coaches from around the world to recruit players for franchise leagues.
"I think this is exposure that we need for PNG cricket. I believe if anyone does well, it takes one good game to turn heads," Amini said. "I think that's what we are looking at. The best way to get that exposure is on the world stage. No other time to do it, than now."
Playing against Bangladesh will also give Amini the opportunity to observe Shakib Al Hasan, and perhaps to interact with the allrounder.
"I would love to talk and meet with the Bangladesh players like Shakib," Amini said. "He is one of the best allrounders in the world. I'd like to know how he goes about his game, what kind of plans he has. He is a left-handed batter like me. I'd like to see what he does in his routine, and learn as much as possible off him. It will be such a great experience."
Meeting the greats of the game inspires Amini.
"During our warm-up game, Mahela Jayawardene came to our dressing room to tell us how to go about the game, chasing such targets. It was great learnings from one of the best players in the world," he said.
Amini is also a member of the most famous cricketing family in his country, after whom there's even a stadium named. He said that his parents, both of whom represented PNG in cricket, call him every day in Oman.
"They are very excited. They keep reminding me of how proud they are," he said. "I am very honoured to be carrying the name of Amini on the world stage. I am trying to do the best I can. Hopefully the next generation of my family can do the same thing."
As for the future, Amini hopes that PNG will be able to play Test cricket one day, following in the footsteps of Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, with whom PNG share the ICC Trophy pathway from the 1980s.
"I believe PNG finished third in 1982. It is part of the journey where Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka have come from. Hopefully PNG can one day play Test cricket like them," he said.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84