Sport: PNG U19 cricketers suspended for 12 months

12:15 pm on 14 June 2019

Ten players from the Papua New Guinea Under 19 cricket team have been suspended from international cricket for one year after being caught shoplifting in Japan.

The players were originally suspended by Cricket PNG on Saturday after stealing from a handful of shops in Sano, just over an hour north of Tokyo, where they had been competing in a regional qualifying tournament for the Under 19 World Cup.

With only four players available for selection PNG were forced to forfeit their final qualifying match against Japan, gifting the hosts a spot at next year's tournament in South Africa.

In a statement released on Friday, Cricket PNG confirmed the 10 players will be banned from international cricket for 12 months and suspended from playing domestic cricket for the remainder of 2019.

The PNG Garamuts team forfeited their final match at the World Cup qualifying tournament in Japan.

The PNG Garamuts team forfeited their final match at the World Cup qualifying tournament in Japan. Photo: Cricket PNG

Cricket PNG declined to name the players.

As part of the sanction imposed by the Cricket PNG Board, the suspended players will also undertake 60 hours of community service and take part in a counselling programme with either a qualified counsellor or village elder.

Cricket PNG Chief Executive Greg Campbell said: "On behalf of Cricket PNG I would like to offer our full and sincere apologies to the ICC, Japan Cricket Association and all of the other teams playing in the event.

"The behaviour of our players is not what we would expect from international cricketers of any age.

"The players have expressed sincere regret at their actions and in addition to their suspension from cricket, they will undertake a comprehensive rehabilitation programme over the next 12 months, supported by Cricket PNG," he said.

"I would like to assure all Japanese cricket fans that this behaviour is not reflective of our sport.

PNG Cricket CEO Greg Campbell

PNG Cricket CEO Greg Campbell Photo: PNG Cricket

ICC General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer Iain Higgins added: "This has been a highly unusual incident by a group of young players and I would like to thank Cricket PNG for acting swiftly and decisively. It sends out a clear message that the sport will not tolerate this sort of behaviour at ICC events."

"We are obviously extremely disappointed with the behaviour of the players, but we are satisfied that Cricket PNG has delivered a suitable and proportionate sanction and programme for rehabilitation. Therefore, the ICC will not take any further action against any of the players," he said.

Greg Campbell said Cricket PNG will continue to work with the players and look forward to their return to cricket following their suspension.

"We sincerely hope to see them in National colours again, sharing the lessons they have learnt with team mates on the standards and expectations when representing their country."