ICC East Asia Pacific region also to benefit from legacy funding from the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup
The trophy was joined by cricketing legends Arjuna Ranatunga and Asanka Gurusinha, both members of Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup winning team. Joining them were former Australia stars Andy Bichel, a World Cup winner in 2003 and Carl Rackerman.
The visit was a huge coup for Cricket PNG, who recently rose to a global ranking of 16 and has been awarded ODI status by the ICC following the Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand earlier this year.
The trophy was on show at a number of events and locations around Port Moresby, providing national players and cricket fans with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get their hands on the silverware.
However, it was in the village of Hanuabada and the offshore Fisherman’s Island where the trophy had the most impact. Cricket has exploded at grassroots level in PNG with more than 170,000 participants this year alone, and a glimpse of the ICC Cricket World Cup trophy was something both communities will never forget.
The enthusiasm for the trophy and the growth of the sport in PNG was also felt by the cricketing greats in attendance. They were blown away by the reception received in both villages.
"Cricket PNG and even myself were overwhelmed when we saw the trophy," said Greg Campbell, the CEO of Cricket PNG. "As you know, I've played in that era and never was lucky enough to make it to the final squad to see the actual World Cup trophy.
"You saw the atmosphere and the response from all the kids. The love a trophy like that, it's one of the biggest trophies in world sport."
"When I look back, when I first played in a World Cup was 1987," said Asanka Gurusinha, who made 65 in the 1996 World Cup final in Lahore, Pakistan. "Until then, I hadn't seen a trophy or anything like that.
"So for PNG, these guys are not in a World Cup but they're seeing the trophy. That should be motivation to say 'we should be able to carry that one day'. I think that's a great thing ICC is doing."
There was another boost for cricket in the East Asia-Pacific region with the news that some of the proceeds from the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 will be put towards a legacy facilities fund for emerging cricket nations in the region.
The announcement was made by Wally Edwards, the Cricket Australia Chairman and ICC Executive Committee Chairman, who was in PNG to see first-hand the talent that is developing out of the East Asia-Pacific.
“Cricket Australia have decided to contribute $200,000 of our hopeful profit from the Cricket World Cup to cricket in the East-Asia Pacific region for facility development," said Edwards. "We've had discussions with New Zealand Cricket and they've agreed to contribute $100,000.
"Also, the ICC have agreed to contribute $100,000. We're hoping to put together significants funds with that from government and corporate to enable the entire region to build a lot more facilities - cricket wickets basically."
Cricket Australia, New Zealand Cricket and the ICC see the fund as a tangible way for next year’s World Cup to make a significant impact towards building a more global game. They are now seeking further assistance from government and sponsors to create a fund of $1 million, targeting the construction of more than 100 synthetic cricket wickets.
The trophy visit was part of a global tour in preparation for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand. The event begins in Christchurch and Melbourne on February 14 and concludes with the final in Melbourne on March 29. Apart from the 10 Full Members, four qualifiers – Afghanistan, Ireland, Scotland and United Arab Emirates, will take part in the tournament.
World Cup fever in PNG! pic.twitter.com/7sRmrqn54P— Andy Bichel (@BichelAndy) August 31, 2014