Sport: T20World Cup qualification could 'set up' sport in PNG

3:05 pm on 6 November 2019

Papua New Guinea men's cricket coach Joe Dawes says qualifying for next year's T20 World Cup has the potential to grow and set up the sport in PNG for the next decade.

The Barramundis finished runners up at the qualifier in Dubai last week and will be one of 16 teams competing at the global championship in Australia next year.

Papua New Guinea have qualified for next year's T20 World Cup in Australia.

The Barramundis have qualified for next year's T20 World Cup in Australia. Photo: T20 World Cup

Cricket PNG expected to receive $US250,000 in prizemoney from the International Cricket Council over the next two years, which could be used towards playing more cricket, Dawes said.

"There's a cash injection from the ICC which will allow us to do a few more things and hopefully we can take advantage of the interest of cricket up here at the moment to gain some more sponsorship and support here that we can use to grow the sport and give our male and female players some more opportunities."

Dawes said the team's World Cup journey had the potential to set-up the sport in PNG for the next 10 years.

"You know, it's a really important time for us," he said.

"There's obviously a lot of interest and a lot of support behind us in the next 12 months, and I think it's a real big responsibility for cricket in PNG to make sure that we take advantage of that and set up not only the next 12 months but potentially the next 10 years of cricket in this country."

The Barramundis are no strangers to touring and playing in Australia, and Dawes said they would relish the chance to play the biggest tournament of their cricketing lives in familar territory.

"One of our jobs this week is we're aiming for hopefully six of our boys to go down to Brisbane and Canberra over the next fortnight and play the summer of cricket down there and get some experience into them there and we've got a lot of cricket planned in Australia next year so you know it is home for us really," he said.

"They boys are very comfortable in Oz [Australia] and they like going down there and it's obviously home for me and a few of the staff so you know we're excited to play some cricket in Australia."

The PNG Barramundis celebrate a wicket.

The PNG Barramundis celebrate a wicket. Photo: Twitter/T20 World Cup

PNG will spend the first half of 2020 focused on 50 over cricket, as part of the Cricket World Cup League 2 competition but Dawes said they hoped to arrange more T20 matches on home soil as part of their preparations for the T20 World Cup.

Dawes said it was unlikely they would get to test themselves against full member nations prior to October, because playing in or against PNG was not viewed as commercially lucrative, but they would welcome the opportunity.

"We're going to open it up to hopefully host some sort of tri-series or quad-series leading into the World Cup and we'll open it up to the teams we've got relationships with," he said.

"But if one of the big dogs wanted to come and play we're never going to knock them back. They're welcome to come into this great country and play some cricket here."

PNG coach Joe Dawes.

PNG coach Joe Dawes. Photo: Screenshot/ICC

The Barramundis players have two weeks off to recharge with their friends and families before returning to the training fields on Monday 18 November.

Dawes was impressed with what his side produced in Dubai but there was still plenty of work to be done ahead of the T20 World Cup.

"We've still got work with our middle order with the bat and just being consistent with the ball but we made some really good strides with some of our younger quicks this tour so I'm really happy with that and the boys," he said.

"They've brought into what we're trying to achieve and I could not be happier with the progress we're making and you know we've got another 12 months to nail it before we get to the World Cup."