Australia targets PNG and Vanuatu in cricket diplomacy project
Cricket Australia has entered into a partnership with the government to help develop the game in the Pacific neighboring countries of Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, the governing body has announced.
The announcement introduces cricket to the PacificAus Sports programme, an Australian government sports diplomacy initiative in the region which already involves the Olympic movement, rugby league, rugby union, football and netball.
The ‘Australia-Pacific Cricket Linkages’ project will, among other things, allow Papua New Guinean men’s and women’s teams to participate in competitions in Australia and provide coaching and education support.
Indigenous Australian teams will visit Vanuatu and engage with the community with the specific aim of getting more girls to play cricket.
“We are very pleased to be part of PacificAus Sports and to play a part in the development of cricket in PNG and Vanuatu from elite level to community involvement,” said Cricket Australia Chief Executive Nick Hockley.
“We also look forward to delivering benefits off the pitch, including gender equality results across sport.”
Papua New Guinea men Burras are ranked 20th and bottom in the International Cricket Council’s One Day International World Rankings and 19th in Twenty20 cricket after qualifying for the year’s World Cup last.
The women, the Lewas, are 15th in the world in the shortest format.
Vanuatu sits 30th in the women’s Twenty20 rankings, while the men are 47th in the world behind Romania and just ahead of Norway.
The PacificAus program also operates in Tonga, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Samoa.