Photo Credit: Cricket Australia
Cricket Australia has today announced a new partnership with the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports to facilitate the growth of cricket in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.
Under the Australia-Pacific Cricket Linkages program, Cricket Australia will work with Cricket Papua New Guinea and the Vanuatu Cricket Association to provide opportunities to support their elite teams, advance pathway programs and enable cultural exchange opportunities.
The partnership will provide Papua New Guinea’s national women’s and men’s squads with the opportunity to play in several Australian competitions, including the Top End T20, and allow PNG’s women’s team to play in the Australian Country Cricket Championships and community competitions as well as participate in several coaching, training and development initiatives.
Under the program, Australia’s national men’s and women’s Indigenous cricket teams will also tour Vanuatu to play Vanuatu’s national sides and undertake community engagement activities.
On the partnership, Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer Nick Hockley said:
“We are very excited to be part of PacificAus Sports and play a role in the development of cricket in PNG and Vanuatu, from the elite level through to community participation. We also look forward to delivering benefits off the field, including gender equality outcomes throughout the sport.
“The partnership aligns with a key priority of Cricket Australia’s new five-year strategy that is to support the growth of cricket globally. This program will enable us to start in our own region by strengthening relationships with both PNG and Vanuatu.
“We would like to thank the Australian Government for their support and for helping us to develop the game throughout the Pacific region.”
Hon Pat Conroy MP, Minister for International Development and the Pacific said:
“People across Australia and the Pacific share a deep passion for sport, and programs like this bring people closer together.
“This exciting new partnership with Cricket Australia invests in the sporting ambitions of Pacific athletes and demonstrates our commitment to advancing gender equality, with women and girls at the centre.
“The partnership will also deepen connections between First Nations Australians and the Pacific family. We look forward to sustaining our friendships on and off the sporting field.”
Cricket Papua New Guinea Chief Executive Officer Greg Campbell said:
“PacificAus Sports provides an incredible opportunity for Cricket Papua New Guinea to continue our strong partnership with Cricket Australia.
“We are looking forward to exploring opportunities for our players to take part in Cricket Australia’s established cricket competitions and high performance programs, which will be a catalyst for our development as a cricketing nation.
“We are incredibly grateful for the PacificAus Sports partnership and are looking forward to contributing to growing the game globally.”
Papua New Guinea Women’s Team (the Lewas) Head Coach Kath Hempenstall said:
“There is certainly some untapped cricketing talent within PNG, however as a developing cricket nation, providing regular opportunities for our players to compete at an international level can be a challenge.
“The partnership with Cricket Australia and the Australian Government will allow our players to participate in the same competitions and high performance programs that their Australian cricketing idols have come through.
“It is in line with our ambition of representing PNG at all upcoming ICC World Cups.”
Vanuatu Cricket Association President Mark Stafford said:
“Vanuatu Cricket is very much looking forward to welcoming the national men’s and women’s Indigenous teams to Vanuatu.
“I am particularly excited that the women’s team will be here in Vanuatu and hope that they can help us to encourage more of our young girls to start playing our game, which is a priority for us.
“Vanuatu Cricket will work with Cricket Australia and the Australian Government to make the tour a real celebration of cricket, friendship and culture.”