Sunday October 24, 2021

Family affair as PNG make global bow at T20 WC

October 15, 2021
Family affair as PNG make global bow at T20 WC

SYDNEY: Charles Amini’s two brothers, his parents and a grandfather all played cricket for Papua New Guinea, and there’s even a stadium named after the family.

But he is the only one to reach a World Cup — and happily claims bragging rights.

The leg-spinning all-rounder is a crucial cog in the Pacific nation’s team at their first global tournament, the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, a feat he calls “a very big deal”.

Cricket runs deep in his family, with brothers Chris and Colin, father Charles senior, mother Kune and grandfather Bryan all representing PNG.

So entrenched are they in the sport that the country’s main cricket stadium in the capital Port Moresby, Amini Park, is named after them.

“I don’t want to brag, but I don’t think any of them have gone to a World Cup,” the 29-year-old jokingly said on an ICC podcast of his illustrious brethren, when asked who was the best player in his family.

“But in all honesty, I would probably say my big brother Chris (was the best), he was a very, very good player.”

PNG open their account against co-hosts Oman on October 17 in a Group B that also includes Scotland and Bangladesh. They will fancy their chances of progressing to the Super 12.

Along with Amini, bowling all-rounder Norman Vanua, classy opener Tony Ura and veteran captain Assad Vala will be key to their success.

“The match the boys are looking forward to is Bangladesh,” said Vala, a mainstay who has been on the team since 2005.

“It will be really good for us to test ourselves against a top-quality team and see where we are at against the best teams in the world.”

Making a top-level tournament has been a long time coming for the sprawling Pacific nation, whose team are known as the Barramundis, named after the fish native to Australia and the Indo-Pacific.