And that was the exact opportunity Papua New Guinean pacer Ravini Oa was afforded when she was chosen for the Women’s Big Bash League Rookie Placement with the Perth Scorchers.
The ICC Rookie Placement Programme in collaboration with Cricket Australia, is aimed at developing of the women’s game through the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL). This is the 3rd edition of this program and the second time Oa has been selected to participate.
She is one of 8 players selected.
“I felt happy about it because it was a great opportunity to train at a higher level,” was Oa’s first response when asked about her program.
“I got a very warm welcome to the team and it was great to meet with all the girls on the team.”
Oa’s two-week placement began on the 28th of December and she was training from the very first day in Perth. In fact, there was very little respite from training, which was a daily rigour for Oa.
Skills training on one day, strength and conditioning on another, nets practice, gym sessions – Oa’s tour to Australia has been exhaustive, to say the least.
Her coach, Lisa Keightley, said: “Ravini has been fantastic in and around the Scorchers squad, I have been really impressed with her bowling and she’s made it hard for the batters in the nets.
“Her work ethic has been great and she’s been a pleasure to work with.
“I have no doubt the opportunity of being involved in the WBBL and mixing in with players like Elyse Villani, Nicole Bolton and Katherine Brunt will be a highlight of her week.
“I wish Ravini and her team all the best in the upcoming competitions.”
Not that it’s been all work and no play.
Oa cheered her team on during a WBBL game, which her Scorchers outfit won against the Sydney Sixers. Beyond that, she has enjoyed being able to sign shirts for kids, drink a few cups of coffee in the town, the surf and sands out at the beach while also finding time to watch Pitch Perfect 3 with her teammates.
“They are very caring, funny and friendly. I’ve enjoyed every moment with them.”
At the end of the day though, it is all about improving for Oa.
Training in a tougher environment can only improve Oa and through her, the City Pharmacy Lewas’ bowling attack.
Bowling regularly in the nets to the likes of Nicole Bolton, who plays for Australia Women or World Cup winner Natalie Sciver, will have given Oa invaluable experience that she will bring back to Papua New Guinea.
Another tough competitor in the nets was Captain Elyse Villani, who said: “We all thoroughly enjoyed having Ravini spend time with our squad, she fitted in seamlessly. She loved a contest in the nets which was obvious from the first time I met her as she managed to snaffle a new ball every time she bowled!”
With such glowing words by both coach and captain, Oa had an experience unlike any other.
“The strength and conditioning training is really tough, unlike in PNG. It is very hard to bowl to some of the players, but I still manage and try to get their wickets in the nets.”
When asked what the one thing she will bring back with her to PNG, she says: “Train hard, no matter how hard the session is and always work as a team.”
Strong words to live by and Cricket PNG hopes Oa is able to come back and propel the Lewas to greater heights.
(Oa in training)