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Love of game brings World Cricket League hopefuls from East Asia-Pacific to Bendigo

Man in red shirt holds cricket bat
Rizky Tri Rubbi studies environmental management in Sydney when he is not playing cricket.

ABC Central Victoria: Larissa Romensky

Cricket is not just Australia versus England.

There are many teams playing without Test status, a lot from developing countries and all with a passion for the game.

Some of those teams are in Bendigo, in central Victoria playing now, in the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cricket League East Asia-Pacific qualifiers.

Six teams — from Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Samoa and Vanuatu — are vying for a win to improve their ICC rankings to Division 5.

It may be the lowest ranking in the ICC but it means the winning team can qualify for the World Cup.

Determination to do your best

Born in Jakarta, Sydney student Rizky Tri Rubbi, 24, learned to play cricket while at high school in Australia.

"Wherever I am, wherever I'm based now, I still love my country and there's just a difference between playing club and playing for your country," he said.

"You feel that determination that you want to do your best all the time and you don't want to let your country down.

"You have to be disciplined, you have to work hard to gain success just like in life — you can't get anything instantly."

Having fun with team mates

Law student Nalin Nipiko has travelled all over the world with cricket including Europe and Africa.
Law student Nalin Nipiko has travelled all over the world with cricket including to Europe and Africa.

ABC Central Victoria: Larissa Romensky

"Cricket means a lot to me because of the travelling. You get to know other places in other countries," said Nalin Nipiko, 21, from Vanuatu.

"But the best thing about cricket is having fun with my team mates. I'm good friends with all of them."

Cricket changing lives

Student Tsuyoshi Takada enjoys travel and has visited Australia four times.
Student Tsuyoshi Takada enjoys travel and has visited Australia four times.

ABC Central Victoria: Larissa Romensky

"Cricket has changed my life. It has taken me to many foreign places," said Tsuyoshi Takada, 22, from Japan.

"Everyone is different and I have learned how to communicate with other players and to learn English."

Representing mother's country

Australian law student Daniel Smith holds a dual Australian Philippines passport and was recruited whilst playing in Sydney.
Law student Daniel Smith is a dual Australian Philippines citizen and was recruited while playing in Sydney.

ABC Central Victoria: Larissa Romensky

"It's what I love doing, it's what I've done all my life," said Philippines player Daniel Smith, 24.

"I can't just go through life and work and not do anything else with my weekends.

"Representing my mum's country, I know she is very proud and it's a really good feeling for me."

Ricky Ponting fan

Sevoka Ravoka has been playing cricket for the last 14 years and now works as a development officer for Cricket Fiji.
Sevoka Ravoka has been playing cricket for 14 years and now works for Cricket Fiji visiting schools.

ABC Central Victoria: Larissa Romensky

"I remember when I was small and watching it on the TV and watching Ricky Ponting and all those star players," said Sevoka Ravoka, 30, from Fiji.

"My role model is Ricky Ponting.

"I started playing when I was 17 and I have never looked back. I just love the game."

Safer than rugby

 Cricket Vanuatu's Pritchard Pritchard started playing at 17 and his favourite player is New Zealand's Ross Taylor.
Cricket Samoa's Pritchard Pritchard started playing at 17 and his favourite player is New Zealand's Ross Taylor.

ABC Central Victoria: Larissa Romensky

"Rugby is the number one sport in Samoa but I don't like to play rugby. I love cricket," Samoan player Pritchard Pritchard, 27, said.

"I can travel around the world and it's a safe sport, you don't get lots of injuries."