More Top Stories

League

Nines in Paradise thrills

9 January 2024

League
Athletics
Athletics

The year in sports 2023

31 December 2023

Features

2023 year in review

31 December 2023

Economy
Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Cricket maps out ambitious 2024 plans

Thursday 21 December 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Cricket, Sports

Share

Cricket maps out ambitious 2024 plans
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 and stats.”

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 together. 

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 players.

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.

Following that CICA will have their T20 Domestic Club Season from September to December.