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ICC rankings for Cook Islands

Friday 23 September 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Cricket, Sports

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ICC rankings for Cook Islands
The full Cook Islands national cricket squad in Auckland. - 22090415

Cook Islands have managed to break into the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s T20 International (T20I) rankings following a strong show at the regional tournament earlier this month.

The national team is ranked 55 from 82 teams in the Twenty20 International rankings.

Cook Islands took part in the East Asia Pacific Sub-Regional Qualifying Tournament in Vanuatu this month where the side finished third behind the host and Fiji (on net run rate).

In the international rankings released yesterday, Vanuatu is placed 45 while Fiji and Samoa are ranked 62 and 74, respectively.

At the Qualifier, the national side made a poor start losing the opening two matches to Samoa and Fiji before causing a major upset to beat favourites Vanuatu in the final match of round one. In round two, Cook Islands defeated Samoa and Fiji but fell short against Vanuatu in the deciding match.

Cook Islands Cricket Association president Grant Walker said he was proud of the team’s effort at the Qualifier that resulted in the nation’s first ever rankings in the adjusted T20I.

Walker said an adjustment by ICC to include associate members like the Cook Islands in the T20I rankings have opened up pathways for development and international opportunities.

At the Qualifier held in Port Vila, Walker said they were up against teams that were better equipped and prepared for the tournament.

He said given the 60 days preparation period without a proper facility for training, the Rarotonga and New Zealand-based players did well to beat the top teams at the Qualifier.

Walker said they were also fortunate to get the services of head coach Craig Murray and a dedicated support team led by manager Rahul Patil.

Apart from captain Ma’ara Ave, who plays first class domestic level cricket in New Zealand, the rest of the players were “amateurs”, he said.

Walker said Ave was the “darling of the tournament” after finishing with Player of the Tournament and Batsman of the Tournament awards.

The clip of Cook Islands’ final over win against Samoa garnered over 1.3 million views and over 70,000 likes on the ICC Instagram page, he said.

“Something like this is unheard of in the Cooks. Our games were livestreamed on ICC TV which has something like 13 million subscribers and it was actually available for betting on bet365 … it just shows what the possibilities could be if we are able to play at that level.”

Walker said they were invited to participate in a Pacific Cricket Challenge to be held next year featuring Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu. The tournament organised by the Australian and New Zealand defence forces will also feature women’s teams from these countries. The countries will play in round robin competition and the matches will be considered for the T20I rankings.

Walker said one of the major challenges for the association was getting the funding to prepare and take the men’s and women’s teams to this event.

“We know that Cook Islands is competitive in this sport so we will be looking for fundings to get us to this tournament in March.”

India is the top ranked T20I side followed by England in second place and South Africa third.