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As the years went by, cricket developed quickly in PNG: Norman Vanua

ANI | Updated: Apr 01, 2019 17:15 IST

Dubai [UAE], April 01 (ANI): Papua New Guinea have made their presence felt in the cricketing fraternity, after they cleared the ICC Men's T20 World Cup qualifier in March. Norman Vanua, the team's bowler on Monday said that there was a time when this feat just looked like a big dream.
“[Facilities were] a big issue back then, we have done tours where we had four or five bats in a team, in the junior set-up. As the years went by, cricket developed quickly in PNG, and it just went on from there," International Cricket Council (ICC) quoted Norman Vanua as saying.
The village I grew up in, I have lived there for about 17 years now … it is a fun village. It is just cricket-mad. Cars have to stop so that the kids can bowl and run through. My family has always played cricket in local compounds. And I was always engaged in sport – football, rugby – but my mum did not want me to play any contact sport. So cricket’s always been there," he added.
The sport has been witnessing a rise in the country since 1973 when they were awarded the associate nation membership. Gradually cricket has become popular in different parts of the country. Better facilities have been made available to the players and Vanua believes that their performance is a testament to these better facilities.
"There has actually been a really big shift. We never had turf wickets back then. Most of us didn’t even know we played cricket on turf,” said Vanua. “We were thinking it’s just cement patches on which you bowl! But yeah, we got turf wickets about eight-nine years ago, and now we’ve great facilities. It’s been really good," Vanua said.
Cricket Australia has helped PNG as they have provided them with the facilities at the Allan Border Academy to train and better their skills.
“[They] do a good job for us. We train in good facilities at the Allan Border Academy. We played at the Adelaide Oval or MCG, we regularly go down to play in their local competition – it’s sort of like a good boost for us. It helps us greatly to see where we can take our cricket to,” Vanua said.
The team came close to qualifying for the World T20 qualifiers in 2015 but they were undone by Afghanistan in the playoffs. (ANI)