Cricket Fiji has announced a large training squad in preparation for the East Asia/Pacific regional T20 qualifier, to be hosted in Japan in October.
The tournament is the region’s pathway to the 2022 World T20 in Australia, as the qualification for this year’s tournament in India is complete.
The winner of the 8-team tournament will progress to the ICC global qualifier and compete with teams such as Nepal and Zimbabwe for a total of four spots in the final 16-team tournament, currently scheduled for October-November 2022.
At the squad announcement, senior selector Meli Saubulinayau stated ambitions for Fiji to be the best team in the Pacific region. “We want to bring Fiji back to the level that we were in the past if we can go further than that the better it will be for Fiji”, he said to FBC News. Mentioning the achievements of the high-flying Papua New Guinea team, he stated that they are the best in the region but there is “no excuse” for Fiji not to reach that level.
This tournament provides the perfect opportunity to back up those statements, as they go head to head with the other challengers for the region’s next best. Local rivals Samoa and Vanuatu boast equally talented squads and there will be a tight battle at the top with only one qualification spot available.
The large training squad, which will train together for a month in preparation for the tournament, has been selected with aims at improving depth.
“The reason is that when one team is chosen, there is no backup players on call to step in and continue to the level that we want to be in. We didn’t have any development team present to back us up and we had to struggle”, national coach Joeli Mateyawa said to Fiji Times.
Mateyawa also stated that batting is a primary focus, as he feels that is the team’s weakest area.
Fiji East Asia/Pacific Qualifiers training squad:
Noa Acawei, Tevita Soko, Tabuisulu Siteri, Makutu Seru, Ganilau Kaiwai, Tagilala, Rakuita, Manase Tadu, Cama Buadromo, Sekove Ravoka, Vilikesa Driu, Sailosi Naiteqe, Darshan Kapadia, Tuapati Cakacaka, Rolly Marika, Peniseni, Jone Wesele, Peni Volavola, Saimoni Tuitoga, Tadulala Veitacini, Mosese Dela, Josaia Balecikobia, Filipe Tiko, Napolioni Gu, Apete Sokovagone, Jone Lupe, Vilisoni Yadrasiga, Laiseni Martin, Cakacaka Cokovaki, Kitione Tavo
East Asia/Pacific Qualifiers to be held in Japan from 11-16 October 2021. Contesting teams are Cook Islands, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Samoa, South Korea, Vanuatu
Photo: Fiji Times
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