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Cook Islands to compete in T20 World Cup qualifiers in Vanuatu

Wednesday 1 June 2022 | Written by Rahul Patil | Published in Cricket, Sports

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Cook Islands to compete in T20 World Cup qualifiers in Vanuatu
Photo: Cook Islands News/15111210

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the qualification pathway for the Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup 2024.

The tournament which will be the biggest one ever will feature 20 teams and will be played in the West Indies and USA.

The road to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2024 will kick off in June. Cook Islands being part of the East Asia Pacific region is scheduled to play in a sub-regional qualifying tournament in early September 2022 along with Fiji, Samoa, and hosts Vanuatu. The winner of the tournament will then get an opportunity to play in the regional finals in 2023 as detailed in the table below.

Cook Islands Cricket Association (CICA) has initiated the formation of a national men’s team to represent the country in the tournament. To prepare the national team for international competition later this year CICA have announced the appointment of Craig Murray as national head coach for the men’s team.

Born and bred in Kaitaia in the far north of New Zealand, Murray has played for various Northland age group sides.

He moved to Auckland at the age of 35 and took up coaching with the Western District area age group sides while completing level 1 and level 2 coaching certifications.

He then progressed to Level 3 coaching certification through Auckland Cricket. He was head coach at three Auckland clubs over a period of ten years while also coaching Auckland age group sides from U14 boys up to U21 women's teams at regional and national level.

Murray has traveled to Hong Kong and South Korea to run cricket coaching courses with the Auckland Cricket Association (ACA), worked for the ACA as a coaching coordinator and was involved in the ACA’s high-performance programme.

He also stood in for the ACA's high-performance manager while he was on a six-month sabbatical in the United Kingdom.

After an extended break away from the game and moving to live in Rarotonga, Murray was asked to coach the newly formed K11 side in last season's local competition.

Speaking about his appointment Murray said: “Returning to coaching last season was very enjoyable.

“This also has given me time to view the talent which is here in the Cook Islands, and I have no doubt that a very competitive national team can be put together.”

CICA president Grant Walker was extremely positive about Murray’s appointment. He said: “I can’t believe our good fortune in having Craig living here in the Cook Islands. “Previously we had investigated coaching assistance from clubs in New Zealand, but Covid had put a damper on events and travel. “Now with this qualifier going ahead with such a short notice, I think we would have really been in bind. “So, you can imagine how overjoyed we are that Craig is here and willing to help with this process, and the immense effort required to get this done over the next three months.”

CICA also announced an open invitation for all interested men’s cricketers aged 16 and over to the selection process. Starting from Friday June 3, the selection process is expected to involve two weekly sessions of high performance and fitness training. Once the team is formed there will be additional training and exhibition games.

An information flyer regarding the event, training and player commitment and costs, will be provided to all clubs and to any interested parties upon request. A sponsorship and fund-raising effort will begin in early June.

For any further information please contact CICA directly at cookislandscricket@gmail.com or chief executive Davis Teinaki on 54340.