Assad Vala

Papua New Guinea stick with experience in T20 World Cup 2024 squad

Ready for their second appearance at the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, Papua New Guinea have named their 15-member squad set to feature in Group C at the tournament.

As he did at the 2021 edition of the tournament, Assad Vala leads the Barramundis, who sealed their spot for this year’s competition via the East Asia-Pacific regional final in July 2023.

Vala is one of 10 players from their 2021 campaign, with 2021 reserve member Jack Gardner this time picked in the 15-player group. Leg-spinning all-rounder CJ Amini will deputise Vala as vice-captain.

All squads named so far: ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024

The skipper admits the side are more prepared for this year's tilt after dealing with Covid complication in 2021, and has high hopes this time around in the Caribbean.

"The energy has been great within the team. For some of the boys who went to the last T20 World Cup, it’s a different feeling now with a lot of the training because the last time was during Covid, and the preparation wasn’t as good as what we’re going through now.

"I am looking forward to this event because I know we are going to do well.”

Papua New Guinea went unbeaten in qualifying for the event, winning six matches on the bounce on home soil to brush aside challengers Japan, Vanuatu and the Philippines in the regional final.

Taking over from former Australia international Nathan Reardon who travels as an assistant coach, recently-appointed head coach and ex-Zimbabwe keeper Tatenda Taibu has rewarded the bulk of the squad that secured qualification with a seat on the plane to the West Indies.

Fourteen members of the qualifying group have been selected, with 2021 T20 World Cup player Chad Soper back in the squad after impressing in recent action, most notably on tours to Malaysia and Oman. Young left-arm orthodox spinner John Kariko is the youngest player in the group, and has experience in West Indies conditions via Papua New Guinea's appearance at the U19 World Cup in 2022, taking a five-wicket haul against Uganda.

The side boast no fewer than eight recognised all-rounders, with both right and left-arm bowling options. Left-arm quick Sema Kamea and Kabua Vagi Morea both enjoyed qualifying action, with the latter taking a hat-trick in qualifying against the Phillipines.

Papua New Guinea begin their campaign with a tough first-up encounter with hosts West Indies on June 2, before meeting Uganda on June 5 with both sides likely hunting their first ever victory at the tournament. They face Afghanistan on June 13 before taking on East Asia-Pacific heavyweights New Zealand to round out group stage action.

Papua New Guinea squad: Assadollah Vala (c), CJ Amini (vc), Alei Nao, Chad Soper, Hila Vare, Hiri Hiri, Jack Gardner, John Kariko, Kabua Vagi Morea, Kipling Doriga, Lega Siaka, Norman Vanua, Sema Kamea, Sese Bau, Tony Ura

Men's NewsICC Men's T20 World Cup, 2024