Cricket Fiji prepare for a busy 2021

Isaac Lockett wraps up the latest news coming out of Fiji.

In a series of interviews published by local news outlets in Fiji, Cricket Fiji CEO Alex Konrote has spoken about the steps being put in place ahead of a busy 2021. 

Men’s cricket

The men’s national squad will be announced by Cricket Fiji in April 2021. With regards to the impending announcement, Konrote says, ‘first and foremost we know the skill level are high but we are looking holistically at everything around it. We are looking for dedicated people who are here to play cricket and not for themselves to see what they can get from Cricket Fiji.’ 

Suva Fiji Cup Champs
Suva – 2020 Cricket Fiji Association Cup Champions (Photo: Cricket Fiji)

Before the national side’s announcement, national selectors will be scouting talent during Fiji’s national T20 club competition, which starts next week. The tournament will give the Cricket Fiji selection committee the time and space to pick an initial extended squad who will undergo a training camp overseen by the high performance unit. Performances in the training camp will determine who makes the final squad.

In October 2021, Cricket Fiji’s mens side will be travelling to Japan to take part in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup EAP Qualifier where they will play against the hosts, the Cook Islands, Indonesia, the Philippines, Samoa, South Korea, and Vanuatu. 

Women’s Cricket

Despite several cancellations, Cricket Fiji hosted the Association Cup and the national league competition. Speaking about the future of women’s cricket, Konrote believes that ‘the quantity that we have this year is quite good. We have never seen numbers like this in cricket ever in Fiji. This has driven us to know that out there, there are many elite athletes that can easily play the game’. 

Fiji Women
Fijian players celebrating after competing in a T10 match during 2020 (Photo: Cricket Fiji)

Like the men’s domestic calendar, the women’s club league tournament is scheduled to start on the 9th January 2020. With increased female interest in the sport, there are high hopes that the domestic season could present a breakthrough opportunity for aspiring women cricketers in Fiji.

After completing a training program, which was held at the LICI Multipurpose Court in Suva, which saw twenty women hone their skills, the hope seems realistic. Discussing the development of women’s cricket, Cricket Fiji Development Officer Sitiveni Rokoro alluded to the creation of a link between broader community cricket and the high performance unit. Rokoro stated that ‘because most of these are women cricketers, this is their first time playing cricket. They have identified batting, bowling, and feeding skills to work on. To try and impart all these skills to a player is to have a holistic approach to their cricket development’.   

Fiji’s women’s cricket team will be travelling to Samoa in September 2021 to compete in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup EAP Qualifier. The competition will see the Fijian side compete against the Cook Islands, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, PNG, Samoa and Vanuatu.   

School Cricket

Cricket Fiji has announced plans to introduce a school cricket tournament during 2021. However, the final decision about whether it will happen rests with the Fijian Ministry of Education. Whilst it is unclear as to whether there will be both a male and female tournament, Konrote offered Fijian cricket fans an insight into the potential during an interview with the Fiji Sun. He said ‘for the U-19 category, we’re looking at developing 16-18 years old to be in that grade for two or three years …and depending on the Ministry of Education, we are looking at the secondary school comp next year.’

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