By LAURA MACINTOSH
Cricket Fiji is excited to announce the Fiji Senior Men’s Team, which will be touring Australia’s Sunshine Coast from October 26 to November 11.
In what Fiji’s Head Coach, Shane Jurgensen, describes as a short- and long-term development opportunity for the players, thesquad features senior players who will be preparing for the upcoming International Cricket Council (ICC) tournament, as well as players from Fiji’s Under-19 squad, who will be eligible for selection for the U19 ICC Tournament, which is to be held in New Zealand next February and March.
In their two-and-a-half weeks on the Sunshine Coast, the Fiji team will play six Twenty20 and three 50 over matches, against local clubs as well as against the Queensland State Development Team, the Scorchers. The Josefa Rika-captained side, in his first tour as a brand ambassador for Blue Tongue Sports, will also have the unique opportunity of playing three night matches during their time in the Sunshine state.
“The players will additionally have the unique opportunity to play club cricket on the two Saturdays of the tour,” Jurgensen added. “This presents an invaluable overall learning experience (for them), playing alongside local cricketers.”
Jurgensen said the Sunshine Coast tour would go ahead instead of the previously planned Tour of India, so that the players could get used to the Australian conditions ahead of the all-important ICC East-Asia Pacific (EAP) region’s World Twenty20 and World Cricket League Qualifiers, which will begin in Lismore on November 18. He added that the Tour of India is still a possibility to go ahead next year.
The final 14-man squad to contest the ICC EAP Qualifiers in Lismore will be named on October 20. These players will also attend a pre-tournament training camp in Brisbane, held from November 11 to 16, before the travelling to Lismore on November 17.
The 16-man, Fiji-based team for the Sunshine Coast tour is as follows:
Josefa Rika (captain)
Jikoi Kida Vanualevu
Shane Jurgensen (Head Coach)
Saiasi Fuli (Tour Manager)
Iniasi Cakacaka (Assistant Coach)