Barras in Brisbane as World Cup Preparations go into Overdrive

The Hebou PNG Barramundis are travelling to Brisbane as they prepare for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe, that begin a little later this month.

“Make sure you aren’t hit out of the park”. Probably what Joe is saying there!

The prestigious Cricket World Cup is held every 4 years and 2019 will see the World Cup being played in England & Wales for the fifth time in its history. Trying to make it to the World Cup for the first time in their history, the Hebou PNG Barramundis are taking giant strides toward qualification. This after finishing 4th with 16 points in the ICC World Cricket League Championships.

Joe watches on as the Barras train

Under the watchful eye of National Team head coach, Joe Dawes, the Barras will have the opportunity to play in different conditions in Brisbane. Something they will have to get used to, considering the qualifying tournament is being held in Zimbabwe. The training camp also offers the opportunity to see how well the team does against higher quality opposition as they play a few practice games in Feb. The first two matches come as early as next week, with the first on played on the 13th of Feb while the other on the 15th of February and you can follow all the action of the #barrasinbrisbane on Facebook.

Tau took 10 wickets at the U-19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand

The tour will also give Dawes an opportunity to assess his best squad in testing conditions. “Competition breeds success. I would like to take the best team with me to Zimbabwe and all the boys have to work hard to earn their spot” is what Joe said when he was appointed the National Coach and he has been true to his word. One of the players going to Brisbane is youngster James Tau, who had a stellar campaign at the recent Under 19 Cricket World Cup held in New Zealand this year. Tau grew from strength to strength, taking 10 wickets in the tournament and finishing with an impressive economy rate of just under 5 an over, earning praise from the likes of Ryan Harris and Rahul Dravid as well. The reward for a good performance? A trip to Brisbane with a shot at getting into the squad and playing in Zimbabwe. A spot he will have to fight tooth and nail for as the Hebou PNG Barramundis have a very impressive fast bowling contingent already. What is needed though is a higher quality of spin.

Liam O’Connor talks to the spin contingent of the Hebou PNG Barramundis

“There’s also a big issue with spin and we need to bring in more local spinners.”  These were Joe’s thoughts before he moved to PNG and he immediately got to work on improving the quality of spinners in the Barramundi outfit by bringing in Adelaide Striker Liam O’Connor.

Charles Amini Jr. will hope to spin a web of magic in Brisbane

The spinner, whose Big Bash League 2018 debut was in the final against Hobart Hurricanes (no pressure, right?) put in a quality shift, finishing with 0/27 in his 4 overs. And there was no time to rest on their laurels or bask in the glory of the championship that both Dawes and O’Connor played instrumental roles in lifting for the Strikers as both travelled to Papua New Guinea within days to work with the Barras and get them prepared for Zimbabwe. O’Connor will be with the squad in Brisbane as well, hoping to aid our spinners in becoming a decisive factor in the matches in Zimbabwe.

Unlike previous editions of the World Cup, only 10 teams will be playing England next year, eight of which have already qualified thanks to their ICC ranking (Top 7 and the host country). This makes it extra hard for Papua New Guinea to qualify as they are pooled with Ireland, Netherlands and of course cricket giants and 2 time World Cup champions, West Indies. (The 5th team in the group will be announced on the 15th.)

The first steps are being taken starting today in Brisbane, Australia. Here’s a look at the players and staff traveling to Brisbane with a hope to get a seat on that plane to Zimbabwe.

Hebou PNG Barramundis
1.Assad Vala (Captain)
2. Vani Vagi Morea
3. Lega Siaka
4. Tony Ura
5. Sese Bau
6. Mahuru Dai
7. Damien Ravu
8. John Boge Reva
9. Alei Nao
10. Nosiana Pokana
11. Chad Soper
12. Kipling Doriga
13. Norman Vanua
14. Jack Vare-Kevere
15. Charles Amini Jnr
16. Dogodo Bau
17. Willie Gavera
18. James Junior Tau
19. Hiri Hiri
20. Jason Kila

Officials
Joe Dawes
John Ovia
Tim Coyle
Dou Mavara Sere
Billy Ame
Matteo Amabile (Resident)
Liam O’Connor (Player)
Jonathan Dean (Player)