4 Jul 2011

Sport: PNG comfortable with favourites tag

10:10 am on 4 July 2011

Papua New Guinea are embracing the favourites tag ahead of the East Asia Pacific Division One cricket tournament, which begins in Port Moresby today.

The Barramundi's the are top-ranked side in the region and were promoted to World Cricket League Two after an impressive showing at a recent tournament in Dubai.

They're hosting this week's Division One Twenty 20 tournament, which also features Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu and Japan and Assistant Coach Greg Campbell acknowledges that home ground advantage makes them the team to beat.

But he says rather than a burden they see the favourites tag as a positive.

"We're using it as motivation. We've got the boys to be a little bit nervous but also embrace it you know when they go out on home soil. This is their ground - it's not Vanuatu's, Japan's or Fiji's or any other Samoa's. They put a lot of work into this the PNG boys to get where they are, 19th in the world now, so to enjoy it and embrace it but also use it as a motivational tool for themselves."

PNG's first match is against Vanuatu, with Fiji and Samoa to open the tournament.