THE RISE OF FIJIAN CRICKET

These are the players who made it all happen…

The opportunities presented by the Fiji Community Cricket Day (as supported by the famous Sydney Thunder cricket club) are unheralded and is an important building block for the development of cricket in the Fijian community. Today, we look at getting some insight from some of the Sydney based players who will participate on the day and what it means for them.

TASHEED TAWHEED

Tasheed_Tahweed
Where are you from in Fiji?
Ba, Fiji

When did you come to Sydney?
Came to Sydney in 1992 at the age of 8.

How’d you get exposed to cricket?
I got exposed to cricket via school sports at primary school. I saw a lot of kids playing the game at school and during summer, the game was on TV 24/7, so I started to learn the game.  I gave the sport a shot in PSSA school sports and I loved it so much in my first year, that I decided to join a proper cricket club. I’ve played club cricket every year since.

Who do you play for and what’s your role?
I play for Mount Pritchard – Southern Districts in the Sydney Shires competition and am an All-rounder. Main role is to bowl fast and I bat in the middle to lower order in the longer versions of the game and in shorter versions, bat as a top order hitter, trying to get my team to a quick start by going after the opposition bowling.

What do you love about cricket so much?
It’s a very tough, skilful sport and you learn a lot of things about yourself as a person. You need endurance, skill, character, speed, fitness, agility, great hand-eye co-ordination, just about everything. I’ve faced some very quick bowling in my time (close to 140km/hr), which has tested me both as a person and as an athlete.

What’s your greatest and most memorable achievement in cricket?
The greatest moment was when I got my first international cap for Fiji. At the point, I was overcome with joy and felt I achieved everything I could have in the sport I loved so much. I still remember the moment, it was in Port Moresby and we were playing Samoa (July 2011) in searing hot conditions.Also taking 3 important wickets against Nigeria in a World Cricket League Division 6 tournament in September 2011 was a very special moment.

What does the Sydney Thunder Fiji Community Cricket Day mean for you?
It’s huge! My heritage and community means a lot to me, so the fact that the Sydney Thunder is trying to support my community and trying to help promote the game I love so much to them, is incredible! I feel very grateful to the Thunder in giving the entire Fijian community a chance to embrace the game of cricket and hope all Fijian kids can really take to the sport and try to achieve in it. There is so much opportunity for them to excel in the sport of cricket here in Australia. And if they really do well, there is a chance for them to go back and represent Fiji on the international stage.

Who will you be playing for on the day?
Fiji Warriors

Final words?
I encourage all Fijian kids, families to take to the sport of cricket where they can. The game looks complicated but once you learn the basic rules, it’s quite easy and so enjoyable to play. The Sydney Thunder have really backed our community and I hope this Fijian Community Day stays on the calendar for a long time to come. I just now encourage all the Fijian kids out there, to embrace the game and it may be the best decision you’ve ever made. It’s a great sport to get involved in and there is so much opportunity here to excel in the sport if you work hard.

RABICI LESUMA
Rabici Lesuma

Where are you from in Fiji?
Somosomo, Taveuni

When did you come to Sydney?
2009 for University
How’d you get exposed to cricket?
HighSchool Sport

Who do you play for and what’s your role?
Sydney Cricket Club, Top Order Batsman

What do you love about cricket so much?
It’s the only sport that stops to have lunch and afternoon tea.

What’s your greatest and most memorable achievement in cricket?
Demolishing Samoa in the 2014 EAP World League qualifiers in Lismore, NSW

What does the Sydney Thunder Fiji Community Cricket Day mean for you?
It means the ongoing development of cricket in Fiji and a way for future talent to showcase their skills.

Who will you be playing for on the day?
Fiji Warriors

Final words?
I’m grateful to have this opportunity. I wish all those participating the best of luck, and am looking forward to the future of Fiji cricket.

NEIL MAHARAJ
Neil Maharaj

Where are you from in Fiji?
I am from Pacific Harbour

When did you come to Sydney?
Came to Sydney in 1996

How’d you get exposed to cricket?
Got exposed to cricket in school and had a few cousins playing it here until I joined up in U/11

Who do you play for and what’s your role?
Play for Wenty Leagues in Parramatta as a bowling all rounder

What do you love about cricket so much?
What I love about cricket is that it’s not just a matter of physical skill or ability, but mental as well. There are just so many combinations of variables in the sport.

What’s your greatest and most memorable achievement in cricket?
A memorable achievement in cricket was winning player of the year for Wenty. As that was one of the most enjoyable seasons playing by winning the premiership with your close mates in our first season together.
But more an experience than achievement was taking our team to the Fiji Easter tournament. It was one the best cricketing experiences I have had playing the sport I love in the country I love. The people, the atmosphere and experience was overall my most memorable.

What does the Sydney Thunder Fiji Community Cricket Day mean for you?
The Sydney Thunder Fiji Community Day is a great initiative. It gives a great chance for guys of Fiji background to showcase their talent and expose talent in cricketing communities that necessarily wouldn’t be associated with the sport and in turn it also creates a platform to further grow the sport in that community.

Who will you be playing for on the day?
Team ‘Toso Viti’

AMAN PRAKASH
Aman Prakash

Where are you from in Fiji?
Nadi, Fiji

When did you come to Sydney?
I came to Sydney in 2003 for my tertiary education.

How’d you get exposed to cricket?
My elder brother, Vikal, is the main reason I got involved in the sport. At first, I used to chuck cricket balls at him as a youngster for his practise, he toured Hong Kong in the Fiji U19s to take part in the Youth Asia Cup before ICC East Asia Pacificcame about (founded 1996). Upon his return from tour, there was a lot of excitement about youth cricket in Fiji at school and districts level. He encouraged me to take the game more seriously so I sat down with a rules/coaching book, imitated some fast bowlers and top batsman from recorded cricket games on VHS which I paused frame by frame to try and learn from the professionals (There was no YouTube then, my brother and I used to listen and visualise Grandstand Cricket on SW Radio Broadcast in Fiji as we used to follow the Australian Cricket team on each of their tours and home games like a religion. Through persistent hard work, encouragement and enjoyment of the game, I had the privilege of playing cricket in Fiji at every level from High School to being a member of the Fiji Senior Men’s squad alongside my brother before I moved to Sydney in 2003.

Who do you play for and what’s your role?
I currently play mycricket with a bunch of awesome lads at Kirribilli Crusaders Cricket Club and am a RH top order batsman and a part time bowler. I normally bowl when our main bowlers cannot get a batsman out so I come into try and break partnerships.

What do you love about cricket so much?
I love the fact that when I am playing cricket, I don’t have to think about anything else such as any regrets or any form of stress in my life. It gives me a positive outlook on life and motivates me as a human being to be fair, kind, happy and helpful to others outside of the cricket field. Apart from the physical, positive attitude and social benefits Cricket plays in our society, I regard it as the best sport on the planet for such reasons.

What’s your greatest and most memorable achievement in cricket?
My great achievement in Cricket is representing Fiji Under 19s in the inaugural 2001 ICC EAP World Cup Qualifier Tournamentand also captaining theFijian National team in Cricket.

What does the Sydney Thunder Fiji Community Cricket Day mean for you?
It’s a huge step for our Fijian Community here in Sydney. It’s a great opportunity for me and likeminded cricketers who have links back to Fiji to come forward and play cricket amongst each other and try and put our nation on the map of cricket. It would be a proud moment to see one of our Fijian Community teams succeed, make it to the finals at Spotless Stadium and come out winners of the thunder nation tournament. It would also be great to see our fellow Fijian players make it into the Sydney Thunder Community to play the Melbourne Renegades Champions.

Who will you be playing for on the day?
I will be playing for the “Fijian Chuckers”

Final words?
I encourage the Fijian Community to come along on Oct 2 to Hammondville Oval to support the Fijian teams participating or to register and be part of the fun and action on the day. We hope it may be a start to something really big for our beautiful nation in future.

For teams wishing to participate in the Fiji Day event, please send us an email on fijicommunitycricket@hotmail.com or visit our Facebook Page – Fiji Community Cricket – Sydney 2016. You can also directly register via Sydney’s Thunder website at
http://www.sydneythunder.com.au

For parents willing to sign their children up to learn cricket from ages 5-8, see MILO in2cricket programs at playcricket.com.au or to find your local cricket club for any other age group, see playcricket.com.au

We also welcome people from the entire Fijian community to come along and watch the talented Fijian cricketers on the day, it will be a fun day out and a great spectacle.

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