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Cook Islands Cricket gears up for T20 World Cup Qualifier

Wednesday 19 June 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Cricket, Sports


Cook Islands Cricket gears up for T20 World Cup Qualifier
The Rarotonga-based training squad. Back row - Coach Craig Murray, Tomakanute Ritawa, Tiaki Wuatai, Marcus Teapa, Tikove Piira and Grant Walker (president). Front row - Adison Rowe, Junior Manea Opo. (Not pictured - Tim Anker, Pita Ravarua, Josia Cummings). LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/ 24061810

The Cook Islands Cricket Association men’s team has already begun their training for the International Men’s T20 World Sub-regional Qualifier in Samoa in August.

Cricket president Grant Walker says the national training groups are formed and they are about to announce their Samoa tour team.

Nine Rarotonga-based players are training at Nikao, and the 10 New Zealand-based players are training in Auckland. Walker said 14 players will travel and there are four reserves.

Head coach Craig Murray said they began training about three months ago and are now halfway through their preparation.

Murray said they have some talented young players in the Rarotonga squad including five under-18 players.

From the nine, four will be selected to play in the qualifiers in Samoa.

“I think they’ve got some talent there,” Murray said. “They’re ones that I think can get better at what they do, and they’re passionate, they love their cricket.  I think going forward, this is the start.”

New Zealand-based training squad. From left back row - Rahul Patil [Manager], Blake Taylor [Team Physio], Andrew Samuels, Liam Denny, Cory Dickson, Hayden Dickson, Thomas Parima, Oscar Taylor, Grant Walker [President]. Front row - Ian West [Asst. Coach/ NZ Dev Officer], Aue Parima, Jared Tutty, Milton Kavana, Ma'ara Ave [Captain], Craig Murray [Head Coach]. SUPPLIED/24061511

Murray said there hasn’t been a base for cricket in the Cook Islands as they just selected a team.

He said they will be having some friendly matches on August 9, including a match against the Auckland Maori team, before they head to Samoa.

Murray added that they have players training in Rarotonga who will be on standby in case there are injuries in Samoa.

“So, the squad of 14 will travel to Samoa mid-August and to the ICC qualifier. Similar to what we did in 2022 when we went to Vanuatu.”

At the Qualifiers, Cook Islands will be facing Fiji and Vanuatu. If the national team win all their games, they will then play the winner of Group B, which is based in East Asia Pacific and includes the Philippines, South Korea, and PNG (the highest-ranked South Pacific team in the ICC).

The winners of Group A and B, along with PNG, will then compete for a spot in the next World Cup.

The 2024 T20 World Cup is underway in the West Indies and United States.