Ahead of T20 World Cup, PNG skipper Vala says ready for big test


Papua New Guinea (PNG) cricket skipper Assad Vala has said that he will be leading a “well-drilled” and “well-disciplined” side into the ICC T20 World Cup to be held in October-November in the UAE and Oman, adding that it would be the right platform to see “where we are at against the best teams in the world”.

PNG will be competing in their maiden ICC global tournament, and will line up in an open Group B with Scotland, Bangladesh, and hosts Oman.

Vala said he understands the significance of playing on the biggest stage for the first time, saying, “To be able to finally qualify for one and participate in one of the World Cups is a dream come true for me, and speaking on behalf of all my teammates, it will be an honour for us. It’s the pinnacle of cricket, being able to play against the best in the world.”

PNG will fancy their chances in Group B of the first round, up against Oman, Scotland and full member team Bangladesh. They’ll have scores to settle though, with Scotland the only team to defeat PNG in the group stage of the qualifier.

They will likely need a good opening result against co-hosts Oman on October 17 to progress to the Super 12 stage. But for Vala, the yardstick for his team is Bangladesh, with their clash on October 21.

“The match the boys are looking forward to is Bangladesh. It will be really good for us to test ourselves against a top quality team and see where we are at against the best teams in the world.” Vala told icc-cricket.com.

Vala says he has an array of options to keep his adversaries guessing. “There are no superstars in our 11 or 15. We are a well-drilled team, well-disciplined. We just rely on playing our roles and executing our skills to the best of our abilities.”

The performances of bowling all-rounder Norman Vanua and fellow opener Tony Ura will be key for Vala’s team, though the exploits of leg-spinning all-rounder Charles Amini could well dictate PNG’s campaign. Describing teammate Ura as “the most destructive batsman in Associate countries,” Amini wants his team to make the most of their World Cup opportunities.

“This is the most historic event that we’re ever going to be a part of,” Amini, a left-hand batter and leggie, said.

“This is the best way to showcase our brand of cricket that we play. I’m aware that the Associate-level countries know what type of cricket that we play but to be on the world stage and for everyone else to see is a big stepping stone for what we have to showcase,” said Amini.–IANS