The former New Zealand international Dipak Patel has been appointed the first ever full-time coach of the Papua New Guinea cricket team.
Patel says he only became aware of the vacancy in the past couple of weeks and is excited about the opportunity to work with professional, international players on a day to day basis.
Cricket PNG General Manager Greg Campbell says the move to a full-time coach was borne out of a players review, which recommended having a live-in mentor.
"Just having the boys here at different times of the day to train. Also going through the changes with contracts - so hopefully that can be sorted out in the next couple of weeks -where they will become full-time cricketers. It's just that day to day contact normally - not that we didn't have it before but it was always that break in proceedings where the coach was out for three or four weeks, just the continuity of everything now. We're going to be on the road four of five months of the year so Dipak is going to jump head-first into a big pond and he's going to have to
learn to swim pretty quickly but we've got no doubt that he can do that".
Dipak Patel says there is no shortage of talent in the Barramundi's team and believes big things are possible.
"In three years time they want to be either number 10 or between 10 and 12 and I think that's very realistic when you look at the countries below them, that are 10-15. They're more than capable and, I think, when I look at the future program that they've already got in place for the next 12 months will allow them to reach those goals".
Dipak Patel's first coaching assignment will be the South Australian Premier League in September, while he will also work with the PNG women's and Under 19 teams.