The Rise of Fijian cricket

Sydney Thunder announces Fiji’s debut in the Thunder Nation Cup!

When it comes to sport and Fiji, many people would associate the island nation with 7s rugby and soccer. No doubt those sports have a strong following in the beautiful island nation, but another sport is now slowly emerging to capture the hearts and minds of the Fijian people -cricket!

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Cricket, whilst huge in certain regions of the world such as Australia and India and followed by billions of people, has yet to fully find its place with the Fijian people.

Whilst the presence of the game is there in Fiji, with 11 associations linked to Cricket Fiji stretching from Suva, West Fiji and the Lau island groups, people have yet to fully embrace the game. Generally one would assume the sport seems a good fit for the Fijian people, often blessed with great athleticism, speed, agility and great hand eye co-ordination but the sport is still considered minor in Fiji.

However, there are many that believe that Fiji will again rise in the cricketing ranks. As more and more Fijian kids get exposed to the game at a young age and education is provided on the game, the future can only be bright.

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One huge step in building  this exposure has been the tremendous efforts of the Sydney Thunder. The KFC Big Bash League Champions recently approved Fiji’s inclusion into its Thunder Nation Cup 2016. This competition is an initiative driven by the Sydney Thunder to promote the game in ethnic communities in Sydney and regional NSW.

“We devised the Moneygram Thunder Nation Cup to connect with the myriad communities to Sydney,” said Sydney Thunder General Manager Nick Cummins. “The tournament is now in its fourth year, and we’re really excitedabout the prospect of having a Fijian representation in the competition.”

The cup is played between communities including Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh last year, with the top two nations playing off at Spotless Stadium as a curtain raiser before the Sydney Thunder plays the Adelaide Strikers on January 18 2017.

For the very first time in history, in 2016, the Fijian community will be offered a place in this important competition. So what does this mean for the Fijian community? In a nutshell it is huge! It provides an incredible opportunity to now grow the game in our community and instil a pathway for our kids to pursue the game vigorously. The more our kids take to the game through opportunities such as this, the greater the potential for such talents to be scouted to represent Fiji on the international stage.

In October, the Sydney Thunder will be holding a Fiji Community Cricket Day, where community Fijian cricket teams will play off against each other for a chance to represent Fiji in the Thunder Nation Cup. It would be incredible if our team could then go on to compete on the big stage at Spotless Stadium!2

Fijian players as part of the Thunder Nation Cup will have the opportunity to be selected to represent the Thunder Nation Cup All Stars team. The Thunder Nation Cup All Stars will play a 3 game series in Wagga against the Melbourne Renegades Champions league team.The opportunities provided to the Fijian community are historic and hopefully will start something great for our community in this very famous sport.

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
Let’s drive the growth of this great game and aim for our community to now produce the best cricketers going forward and   awaken this sleeping giant!

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