An East Asia-Pacific (EAP) team made up players from Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Japan and Papua New Guinea (PNG) will compete in next week’s Asia Pacific Rising Stars Trophy.
Redlands Cricket Club in Brisbane will host the tournament from 12th to 17th August.
ICC Regional Development Manager East Asia-Pacific Kieran McMillan says this inaugural event is a welcome addition to the playing calendar for elite cricketers in the region.
"Elite playing standards in the developing cricket world improve year on year, built on the back of our players playing good quality cricket more often. This is another opportunity for the most talented cricketers from the region, many who are young and have exciting careers ahead of them, to develop their skills against hardened, experienced cricketers from PNG, the Australian Indigenous Development XI and the Australian Combined Services."
Fresh from leading Vanuatu to a third place finish in World Cricket League Division 6 held in Jersey last month, Andrew Mansale will captain the young EAP side.
"The [Vanuatu] boys had a week off last week because it was a long trip home from Jersey and we’ve had a lot of cricket lately," he said.
"On Saturday, we returned to our club teams in a Twenty20 tournament and this week we’ve been following a training program that [Coach Peter Wooden] has set us. Sights are now firmly set on the Asia Pacific Rising Stars Trophy."
Mansale added that he is confident the EAP side will gel as a team and sees youth as the side’s main strength.
"Whilst the team comes from five different countries, we have been playing together and against each other for a while. We know each other’s games well and we know each other’s strengths. When we get together, we will bond quickly as a team.
"Our strength will be that we are young. Being quick between the wickets and quick in the field will be a big asset for us and the dynamic Twenty20 format will suit us well."
Mansale identified fellow Vanuatu countrymen Patrick Matautaava, Sampson Kalworai, Jelany Chilia and Trevor Langa as well as young PNG batsman Lega Siaka as key players for the EAP side.
"Jelany Chilia with his off-spin has been bowling really well. He’s very economical and gets through his overs quick.
"Lega Siaka has very good skill and can hit quick runs when we need it."
The EAP team get the tournament underway on Monday with a game against Papua New Guinea at Peter Burge Oval.
© Cricket World 2013