Fiji cricketers prepare for first World Cup challenge
Fiji cricket coach Shane Jurgensen talks about his team qualifying for the Under 19 World Cup and what to expect at next year's tournament.
Fiji have qualified for next year's Under 19 Cricket World Cup after completing a clean sweep of their Pacific rivals.
A stunning upset of defending champions Papua New Guinea set the tone in Blenheim, with victories over Vanuatu and Samoa sealing their East Asia Pacific Trophy and a first-ever World Cup berth.
Fiji's head coach Shane Jurgensen told Vinnie Wylie their success was long in the planning.
SHANE JURGENSEN: We believed we had a pretty strong group here. We've been preparing for this for a little while - more intensely since December. Before then even these boys were training together as a group with the senior national team from about June last year. I'm really really proud with the way that they approached it - very professional. They're all big boys - they're big and strong and they're fit - and they've just really come here and executed our plans really well".
VINNIE WYLIE: You caused a boilover on day one beating Papua New Guinea, which then put all the focus, all the emphasis on your team to keep going because Vanuatu had made the final the last two events. You had to finish the job against Samoa and it must be really pleasing the way they stood up?
SJ: The win against PNG really set the tone for the rest of the week. We bowled really well and finished off with the batting winning by five wickets [then] beating Vanuatu again by five wickets. I think a lot of people weren't expecting the boys to play as well as they have. My words to them this morning was that we wanted to win this game and win it really well to prove a point that there was a reason why we've got direct entry into the World Cup next year, and today they did just that. We probably only should have been chasing 80 rather than mid-90s but that's the way it goes and to win it only losing one wicket even stamps the way that I wanted them to win today and they did just that so I'm really really happy with them and everyone back home should be happy with them as well
VW: Now you're headed to the World Cup in Bangladesh - a country you're no stranger to. How much of a benefit is that going to be at that event with the knowledge of the conditions up there?
SJ: I know the place pretty well having been there for three years and I suppose when you go to the sub-continent it's all the little things that you don't expect and that's probably where I might have my advantage for the boys' preparation: understanding the conditions, the weather, that time of the year, what the wickets will be like. We need to know what teams are in our group so we can prepare accordingly and obviously the sub-continent you need to learn to play more spin. I think for us, we've got a really young group here - we've got boys who are nearly as tall as me but they're still only 15/16 and a couple of 17 year olds so that's going to be a whole new world for them, going to Bangladesh, and we need to prepare them accordingly, both on the field and off the field. That's certainly an area where I will certainly be able to help the boys out.
VW: Is this the first time a Fijian team has qualified for a World Cup at any level?
SJ: I'm pretty sure it is and we've done it the right way as well - we've had to come here and prove ourselves. It's really exciting and it's exciting for the sport in Fiji. There's been a lot of work in behind the scenes for a long time. A lot of these boys were involved in the national men's team and also they've been playing Suva domestic cricket and despite whether its competition is strong it's the fact that a lot of these boys are actually playing against men in the Twenty20 competition, so a lot has to be said for that because they've been exposed to playing more experienced cricketers so it's just a really fantastic effort and it's really good for the sport in Fiji.
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