Sensational Patrick Matautaava, who has recently produced one of the all-time great knocks in the history of the World Cricket League, was close to give up playing cricket not being able to make any money with it to support his family.
The Vanuatu cricket team is due back in the country late tonight, after securing promotion at the World Cricket League Division Five tournament in South Africa.
Pacific has two representatives in the elite group for the first time now, with Papua New Guinea well established at number 16, reports Pacific Beat.
According to the Regional Manager for ICC East Asia-Pacific, Kieran McMillan, Vanuatu’s achievements will open the door for an increase in funding.
“The better you do on the field, the more opportunities you have to access greater funds. The fact that Vanuatu is moving now into the higher levels of the World Cricket League will unlock further funding and help them to invest more into the game locally,” he said.
“If you look at Vanuatu’s performance in the World Cricket League Division Five, they played five games and they have won two. So they actually lost more games than they won, and they still managed to get promotion. When it came to really needing to show the performance under pressure, they did come through, but now in Division Four they will come up against Jersey, they were beaten convincingly by in the final, and also Bermuda, Malaysia, Uganda and all those other countries showing consistent performance,” Kieran McMillan noted.
To stay in cricket elites for Vanuatu is really important to hang on to their best players. Patrick Matautaava, who was the player of the match in games against Germany and Italy, and was also named the player of the tournament, has come very close to giving up on cricket, because he is not getting any money out of it, and he needs money to support his family. Reportedly Matautaava was considering going for fruit picking rather than playing cricket.
“This is a tough situation. Players have to sacrifice a lot. We hope that success in the World Cricket League will unlock more ICC funding, hopefully it will allow them to get some greater investments from the local government and local sponsors, and some of this money will be put in towards player contracts, allowing players to treat cricket as their full time job,” McMillan said.