Cook Islands Cricket Association domestic T20 competition finals were held earlier this month. MELINA ETCHES / 23121205
Following a strong performance in 2023, the Cook Islands Cricket Association (CICA) is looking to grow the game’s footprint in the country.
Association’s president Grant Walker said:
“We are building on the International Cricket Council (ICC) decision in 2019 to
allow all 96 associate nations to play T20 Internationals for ranking points
This led to the reforming of both the
national squads in 2022 and 2023 respectively.
Walker said both teams have achieved
international rankings, and they are using that success to garner additional
talent, support, and connections.
“Additionally, a significant portion of
our funding will be indexed to our performance internationally, so these
programmes and their success are of great value to us.”
Their first tournament for 2024 is the
women’s Pacific Cup in Auckland from January 15- 21. Five of the ICC East Asia
Pacific (EAP) nations will be participating, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New
Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu, along with a newly formed Aotearoa Māori Select
team. The tournament will be hosted by NZ Cricket and will be broadcast live on
NZTV and SKY Pacific.
Walker said the T20 games against the EAP
nations will have ranking points at stake, whereas the Aotearoa Māori matches
will be considered friendly games.
The tour will be a first in Cook Islands
history with both the men’s and women’s teams travelling and training
CICA has arranged a series of 13 friendly
matches (seven men’s/six women’s) in five days against the Auckland University
Cricket Club and Kumeu Cricket Club. These are trial matches for the men’s side
preparing for 2024 ICC World Cup qualifier in Samoa later in the year and
warm-ups to the Pacific Cup for the women.
The national teams are in training mode at
the moment and they are forming and structuring with inclusion of some new
Walker said: “We are taking several new
players from Rarotonga, as well as adding additional New Zealand based players
who have heard about our team, our plans, and our vision. I am thrilled at the
passion, talent, and desire of the teams we are building. I think we have a
chance to make history in the coming years.”
He said the Auckland University Cricket
Club has given them approval for the use of their new state of the art facility.
Walker said they are planning a collegiate
series for the local colleges and will be running an introductory Cric Crio
programme for the younger ages and as well as introducing a new competition to
extend the cricket season significantly.
In February to May 2024, a span of four
months, the association will hold a Super Slam Cricket tournament with four
select men’s and four women’s teams. These would be T20 matches every Saturday
for three weeks with the fourth week off, a total of 12 games in four months.
Walker said they have recognised the
necessity for the matches to be year-round.
“We will use the Super Slam to work on our
umpiring, scoring, and field preparation. By having only two games a weekend it
will allow our admin and development people to work closely to improve the
games and sport.
“It will help enormously for international
level build-ups but also improve our domestic competition. An additional bonus
will be ability to offer the cricket experience year-round as we build our
youth and U19 programmes.”
In August of 2024, the men’s team will be
participating in the ICC EAP T20 World Cup sub-regional qualifier. This event
is where the side will be grouped with Fiji, Vanuatu and host Samoa. The winner
will go through to the full qualifier against the other group winners and play
to advance to the T20 World Cup.
that CICA will have their T20 Domestic Club Season from September