Sport: PNG's Assad Vala picks brains of international stars

2:06 pm on 16 March 2017

Papua New Guinea captain Assad Vala says he got the chance to pick the brains of some cricket legends during his stint in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz.

The 29 year old became the first PNG player to participate in a professional cricket competition.

He featured in all four round robin games for the Galaxy Gladiators Lantau, playing alongside the likes of Kumar Sangakkara and Jesse Ryder, in a team mentored by West Indian great Brian Lara.

Vala picked up four wickets with the ball but could only muster a total of nine runs in three innings with the bat.

Assad Vala playing for the Galaxy Gladiatators Lantau.

Assad Vala playing for the Galaxy Gladiatators Lantau. Photo: Cricket Hong Kong/Takumi Photography

He said it was an unbelievable experience and he took the chance to soak up as much as he could.

"Being around them all the time asking questions, which was really good. They helped me a lot with my game and how can I improve - really good ideas they gave - so I'm pretty happy with the experience I had in Hong Kong," he said.

"They knew what to do. All their routines, they just followed them and everything just fell in place and the performances took care of itself.

"I was just watching them: how they prepare, what they do to perform in a game and just soaking in watching those big boys do what they do."

Assad Vala.

Assad Vala. Photo: Cricket PNG

Assad Vala said the other players were also interested to learn more about cricket in Papua New Guinea.

"They asked the question about what we have been up to, what we're doing," he said.

"It was really good those international starts being asking questions about what the associate countries are doing, which is really good as well."

Assad Vala said, given the opportunity, he believed many of his Barramundis teammates would also be able to compete in professional competitions.