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Aravinda de Silva has high hopes for PNG

Former Sri Lankan Test cricketer and legendary test batsman, Aravinda de Silva was impressed with what he saw of the PNG national team during their tour of Sri Lanka this month.


de Silva speaking to the PNG players
Former Sri Lankan Test cricketer and legendary test batsman, Aravinda de Silva was impressed with what he saw of the PNG national team during their tour of Sri Lanka this month.

The Hebou PNG Barramundi's arrived on home soil on Sunday with a lot of positives to take out of the trip.

The 1996 World Cup winning hero, Aravinda De Silva had a lot of praise for PNG but warned that a lot of hard work was still needed to progress through the world rankings.

Aravinda is most remembered for his unbeaten 107 in the final of the 1996 World Cup where he led Sri Lanka to glory over Australia.

"We know what Cricket PNG is going through at the moment because we were in their shoes 35 years ago," said de Silva

"They've (PNG) got a lot of talent and potential, they just need to keep working harder on all aspects of their game. You've got to have a lot of discipline, commitment and dedication to become better cricketers."

"You should never be satisfied with where you're at with your skills and fitness. You should be looking to improve every day. You can't become a very good player by just sticking to the set training times given by your coaches; you should be looking to do extra all the time to become better," added de Silva.

Sri Lanka were given Test status in 1981 and only managed to play 31 Test matches during the 80's. Since then Sri Lanka has produced the leading Test Wicket taker in Muttiah Muralitharan who took a record 800 Test wickets. The world record holder visited PNG in December 2010 to take part in Cricket PNG's World AIDS Day program.

"We were starved of opportunities to play test cricket when we first started. No one wanted to play us because we were considered to be a weak side, but that never stopped us from working on our cricket. We worked hard during the 80's and got better and better as the years went on," said de Silva.

"We trained hard to improve our cricket and we conquered the world 15 years after obtaining test status by winning the world cup in 1996. We did it and you too can do it as I can see similarities with our Sri Lankan team and your PNG team in the lead up to us winning the Cricket World Cup in 1996. Learn as much as possible from this tour and go back to your home country as better cricketers and get PNG cricket to world stage which I know is possible," he said.

Hebou PNG Barramundi's skipper, Chris Amini also had a lot of praise for Aravinda and his team over the two week tour.

"It's been a fruitful two weeks for us. This tour has opened a lot of doors for us. We now know where we stand as a team and what we need to work on before the T20 qualifiers in November."

"I want to thank Aravinda and his team of coaches for sharing the cricketing knowledge and expertise with us. Also want to thank Sri Lanka Cricket for allowing several of their Test, ODI and T20 squad members to play against us. We never expected this and it was a good challenge for us players and also gave us an opportunity to see how these international players go about their game."

"I'm also grateful to Cricket PNG management and the board for putting this tour together. We've got a lot of work to do before T20 qualifiers and it's up to us as players to repay the faith the CPNG board and management have in us."