On the eve of their ODI against Oman, the first of 126 ODIs to be played in the inaugural Cricket World Cup League 2, PNG men’s skipper Assad Vala and exciting all-rounder Norman Vanua have been announced as Emerging Cricket Ambassadors. They join Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer, who was appointed in May.
Vala, who turned 32 last week, first represented Papua New Guinea at Under-19 level and played in the 2004 Under 19 Cricket World Cup in Bangladesh. He went on to make his senior debut during the 2005 ICC Trophy and has played 19 ODIs, 18 T20Is and 7 First Class matches for the Barramundis. He was appointed Captain in 2016.
A 9th place at the 2018 World Cup Qualifier left the team needing a top four finish at WCL2 to win back ODI status and a spot in League Two. Leading into the last day of round robin between the six teams PNG was dead last, but with an emphatic win over Oman, and when other results went their way, the Barramundis prevailed by a mere 0.012 on NRR ahead of Canada, and Hong Kong.
“I am excited to join EC as an Ambassador to bring the fans closer to our website, podcast, and social channels to help them follow their favourite emerging teams playing around the world,” Vala said of his appointment.
“Moreover, it’s a privilege to be leading this group of boys and I continue to be humbled to be captain of this wonderful side. League Two is a very important competition for us, getting more games and testing ourselves against some of the best Associate countries, but also it’s the first step for us trying to win direct entry to the Global qualifiers in the 50 over World Cup,” Vala concluded.
Norman Vanua has the reputation as one of the most explosive all-rounders in the emerging game. Over the past few years, he has established himself as a key member of the sides, and one who can win a game for the Barramundis with the bat or ball.
One such example of his game-changing abilities was during the 2015 T20 World Cup Qualifier. Coming in at number 9 and with 31 required from 21 balls, he smashed 3 x 6s in the penultimate over to help his side beat hosts Ireland, finishing on 28 from 10 balls. PNG won with 7 balls to spare.
“I am very excited and honoured to join EC as an ambassador and to help show the world what cricket is like in Associate nations like PNG, what it means to us, and the what cricket has done for me and so many of the players,” Vanua said from Scotland.
After commencing in 2018 Emerging Cricket now boasts 20 global contributors, with representation on every continent where organised cricket is played, in its mission to be the go-to place for cricket fans to be informed and inspired by stories from the Associates and beyond.
More appointments are expected to be announced shortly, in line with EC’s plans to create a global community of Ambassadors providing unprecedented access to cricket’s new world.