Hong Kong and PNG awarded ODI status by the International Cricket Council
Papua New Guinea’s national cricket team, the Hebou Barramundis, is set to make history next month, playing its first ever One Day International (ODI) series from 8-9 November in Townsville, Australia. The Hebou Barramundis will face arch rival Hong Kong which is ranked one spot higher in the global rankings in 15th place.
Hong Kong and PNG were awarded ODI status by the International Cricket Council (ICC) following their fifth and sixth placings respectively in the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand earlier this year. In that event both nations just missed out on a place in world cricket’s pinnacle event, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 which is being co-hosted by Australia and NZ in February and March next year.
Having announced their inaugural, full-time professional player contracts for a 16-strong men’s squad last month, the Digicel ODI Series in Townsville is another key milestone for the emerging cricket nation.
Dipak Patel, former NZ cricketer and now coach of the Hebou Barramundis, is clear on where he wants to take the team.
“We want to be performing on the world stage against the big boys in the next five years and regular, quality international cricket is critical to achieving this aim. As our first official ODI matches, the Digicel ODI series is the starting point of the next phase in Cricket PNG’s evolution.”
Hong Kong has also had an exciting year, competing in the ICC World T20 2014 in March where they claimed the scalp of host nation Bangladesh. The side has had the edge over the Hebou Barramundis in recent global tournaments with some dynamic youngsters that can be destructive in the shorter forms of the game.
The back-to-back ODIs will be played at Townsville’s Tony Ireland Stadium which, following a recent inspection by the ICC has been accredited as the 10th international cricket venue in Australia. Over the winter the ground has played host to two four-day fixtures between Australia A and South Africa A, and feedback from players, officials and the ICC Match Referee have been overwhelmingly positive.
The ICC’s accreditation of the stadium allows Townsville to host the Digicel ODI Series, as well as opening up further opportunities to bring more quality cricket content to the city.
Cricket Australia’s Senior Manager – Cricket Operations Sean Cary praised the work of the Townsville City Council and was excited to have an ICC-approved venue in Far North Queensland.
“Cricket Australia has been pleased to support the process of the stadium’s accreditation as an ICC-approved venue, because we want more venues around the country to have the capacity to host international cricket.
We were impressed with the facilities during the recent series between Australia A and South Africa A, and see a bright future for the stadium.
Thank you to the Council and Mayor Jenny Hill for their support of cricket in Townsville, and we wish PNG and Hong Kong the best of luck in next month’s series.”
Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill said the announcement of the stadium’s ICC rating and the upcoming series was big news for the city and the region’s sports mad community.
“Today’s announcement opens up fantastic opportunities for international cricket in the city and the sporting and economic benefits it brings to our community.
It’s a proud occasion for the city and it’s even more telling with the news that we will only have to wait a few weeks before the stadium hosts its first One Day International series. I’ll be urging our community to roll out the red carpet for the Papua New Guinea and Hong Kong teams.”
Digicel ODI Series, Townsville 2014
Saturday 8 November
ODI – PNG v Hong Kong, 10am start
Sunday 9 November
ODI – PNG v Hong Kong, 10am start