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Adelaide Strikers’ leg-spinner Liam O’Connor has been helping Papua New Guinea’s national team prepare for the Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe.
O’Connor took none for 27 from his four overs as the Strikers won their maiden Big Bash Twenty20 title last weekend against the Hobart Hurricanes.
He then jumped on a plane to Port Moresby alongside Adelaide assistant coach and new Barramundis’ mentor Joe Dawes.
“Obviously Joe Dawes being the new coach and assistant coach for the Adelaide Strikers posed the idea to me and I thought that it would be a great opportunity to go somewhere different and work with different players,” he said.
The 24 year-old played against the Barramundis two years ago when he was a rookie player for Western Australia.
“I didn’t know a whole heap (about PNG) but I did in fact played PNG in a Matador Cup trial game in Maroochydore a couple of years ago. That was all the extent I know about PNG,” he recalled.”
“I remember the PNG boys going hard in a rugby game in their warm up over there but I did a few Google searches and spoke to Joe about PNG before coming up. I didn’t know too much, I was all new but I guess that adds to the excitement I guess,” he said.
After spending some time with the PNG squad this week O’Connor says he’s been impressed with the tight-knit culture.
“The team cohesion and how everyone is like a family has been very impressive. They have this real eagerness to learn which is very genuine,” he said.
“That makes it very easy to teach and give advice when they are all willing to learn. It has been really good.”
The Papua New Guinea squad, including O’Conner will spend the next week training in Brisbane and playing a couple of practice matches before flying out to Zimbabwe.