25 Aug 2012

Sport: Fiji hopeful cricket tournament will boost playing numbers

10:11 am on 25 August 2012

Fijian officials are hopeful that next week's East Asia Pacific Under 17 tournament will encourage more kids to pick up a cricket bat.

Fiji is hosting the event in Lautoka, which also features Vanuatu and defending champions Papua New Guinea, after Japan and Samoa pulled out.

National team captain and Under 17s coach Joe Rika says the sport has died out in Fiji in recent years but this is a great opportunity to encourage more young players to take up the game.

"This is definitely something that is going to build the image. We don't have a lot of kids that play cricket at this age level and to have an international event like this - international under-age cricket - is definitely going to help the sport develop."

Joe Rika says Papua New Guinea will be the team to beat in Lautoka but says Vanuatu have also put a lot of work into their youth development programmes.