JLT One-Day Cup 2017

Throw PNG a one-day lifeline: Gillespie

Interim coach believes the Barramundis should be included in Australia's domestic one-day tournament

Adam Burnett

06 September 2017, 12:11 PM

Test legend Jason Gillespie wants Papua New Guinea to be included in future editions of Australia's domestic men's 50-over competition. 

Gillespie, who is coaching the PNG Barramundis ahead of a forthcoming ODI series against Scotland, has called on Cricket Australia to give the idea serious consideration to further its work to strengthen cricket in the region.

The 42-year-old, who will again take the reins with the Adelaide Strikers in this summer's KFC BBL, says Australia, as the cricket powerhouse in its region, has a responsibility to assist in the development of the sport among its neighbours. 

And with that in mind, he said the fledgling cricket nation would benefit from regular matches against Australia's best players.

"PNG Cricket is unique in that it is 100 per cent indigenous, which is pretty special," Gillespie told cricket.com.au on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, where the Barramundis are preparing for a series against Scotland with matches against Tasmania, Victoria and a Cricket Australia Indigenous XI. 

"The game there is growing and developing, and with Australia being so close – we're only a few kilometres apart at our nearest points, so they're our closest cricket neighbours – it would be great if Cricket Australia can do as much as they can for PNG Cricket. I think it's very important."

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Papua New Guinea compete in the South Australian Cricket Association's West End Redbacks League, where Gillespie says they've accounted for themselves "very well". 

And while a step up to one of the world's most competitive domestic tournaments would likely be a steep incline initially, the 71-Test veteran insists it would garner long-term results. 

"It would be a wonderful initiative by Cricket Australia to include PNG in the domestic one-day comp," he said. "That would be absolutely brilliant. 

"It'd be tough cricket, and there'd be a lot of learning, but the only way they're going to develop is by playing consistently good levels of cricket against quality opposition. 

"You see when new Test nations come in, they take a while to find their feet, and we're going to see that in the next few years with Afghanistan and Ireland. 

"But look at Bangladesh now – you give opportunity, and things happen." 

Cricket Australia has shown a willingness to experiment with the men's domestic one-day tournament in the past, most recently introducing a 'CA XI' team made up of the country's best young players who missed selection in their respective state squads. 

And the governing body has played a key role in conjunction with the ICC with the development of national teams within the East Asia Pacific region. 

Papua New Guinea has been one country to benefit from that development; the Barramundis were awarded ODI status in 2014, playing their first two matches in Townsville, while star batsman Lega Siaka, who played grade cricket with Essendon, gained an opportunity with Melbourne Renegades as a 'community rookie' in the 2014-15 Big Bash season that followed. 

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Executive General Manager of Team Performance, Pat Howard, said CA is committed to working with nations like PNG to aid development of talent in the global system. 

"We are very committed to assisting nations in the pacific to help them develop talent and to continue their growth on the international stage," Howard told cricket.com.au. 

"As a leader in global game we believe we have a duty to support the international landscape of cricket and in particular the game in the region. 

"As is the case with the camps currently occurring on the Sunshine Coast, we believe PNG provides exceptional competition for our states to prepare.

"PNG also participates very successfully in South Australia's Premier Cricket competition and in the past we have also had several players from PNG involved in our BBL and WBBL rookie program, and we will always look at opportunities to extend this where we can."

The inclusion of Papua New Guinea wouldn't be the first time Australia's domestic competition has included an international side, after New Zealand played the first six seasons of the competition, from 1969-70 to 1974-75, winning on three occasions. 

This year's domestic one-day tournament, now known as the JLT One-Day Cup, begins on September 27, and all matches will be broadcast live and free exclusively by cricket.com.au via improved streaming on web and the CA Live app.