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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post Courier, Dec. 9) – Players padding up today for the cricket trial over the next two days have every opportunity to get Papua New Guinea into the 2007 World Cup in West Indies.

PNG Cricket Board secretary Wayne Satchell said yesterday the opportunity to go all the way to the World Cup — a goal yet to be reached but high on its plans — was as good as ever before.

But it was up to the players who are picked to turn that into reality, he said.

"It’s a big task, (for the) selectors. And the fringe players have every chance to impress," Satchell said.

"But we have a very good chance of qualifying for the World Cup," he added about the ultimate aim of the present program.

Following the trials, a team of 14 players and two non-travelling reserves will be selected for the World Cup qualifying series in Malaysia.

The challenge, from February 21 to 26, is against Qatar, Kuwait, Zambia, Italy, Nepal, Cayman Islands and Fiji.

Only the winner qualifies for the International Cricket Council Trophy tournament in Ireland in July where the top five finishers secure berths in the 2007 World Cup to be staged in West Indies.

"We are picking it (the team) pretty early. We need to get everything ready," Satchell said.

But he added that there wasn’t any reason why "PNG couldn’t go all the way — from Malaysia to Ireland, then to the World Cup in West Indies".

"We want to get into the World Cup (and) the opportunity is there,’’ Satchell said.

He said PNG has shown in recent times that they can be competitive against Australian Country sides.

While most aspects of the game in the bowling and fielding have been quite compatible with world standards, what has been lacking has been the discipline in batting.

And that’s what the selectors, led by chairman Numa Alu, will be looking at when they monitor the two trials to be staged in Port Moresby.

The players were put through a fitness test on Tuesday and the outcome of that will also be taken into consideration when the selectors name the final team.

Thirteen members of the training squad were named in an East Asia-Pacific team that attended a two-week training camp at the Queensland Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.

And Satchell said high-ranking officials within the region who watched the conduct and performance of the PNG players had plenty of praise for them.

Beating Redland Tigers on the three-match tour of South Queensland was another shot in the arm for the national squad.

"We beat the Redland Tigers, so it shows that we can match anyone on our day," Satchel said.

December 9, 2004

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