Papua New Guinea all-rounder Kaia Arua dies, aged 33

Cricket PNG confirmed the news on Thursday afternoon local time.

Kaia Arua tossing the coin at the recent East Asia-Pacific T20 World Cup Qualifier.
Kaia Arua tossing the coin at the recent East Asia-Pacific T20 World Cup Qualifier.

Kaia Arua, all-rounder of the Papua New Guinea women’s team, has died in hospital today (Thursday), aged 33.

All-rounder Arua first appeared for PNG at the East Asia-Pacific Trophy back in 2010 in Japan. Moving into a regular spot for PNG and featuring in various pathway events and Pacific Games cricket, Arua was a key player in the Lewas side, and featured in the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier.

Arua took captaincy of PNG in a match against Ireland at the 2018 T20 World Cup Qualifier, before being named in the ICC Women’s Global Development squad in the same year. Arua took the captaincy on a permanent basis at the 2019 East Asia-Pacific T20 World Cup Qualifier, helping her side take the sole double-qualification spot for both the 2019 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier and the 2021 Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier tournaments.

“We are very sad to announce to you that our current player and most recent Lewas captain, Kaia Arua, passed away at Port Moresby General Hospital at midday today,” Cricket PNG CEO Richard Done said in a statement.

“Our sincere condolences and love go to her family, including Coach John Ovia and Lucy Ovia, who have both been long serving staff here at Cricket PNG.

“Kaia had a remarkable playing career with the Lewas and at the right time we will be recognising that contribution. We wish to respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time, and we will release more details as approved by her family. In memory of Kaia Arua.”

Arua captained Papua New Guinea in 39 T20Is with official status, winning 29. Her 59 T20I wickets at 10.2 remains the most by a PNG women’s international.

The all-rounder was also a regular figure in Fairbreak tournaments, having represented the Falcons in 2022 and 2023.

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