Today’s champions profile feature national cricket player Samson Kalworai.
Son of the former Shefa Province, Secretary General, Michelle Kalworai and the youngest out of three brothers who all love cricket.
Samson gained early love in the bat, ball and wickets as a grade three student at Kawenu Primary School when Vanuatu Cricket Association [VCA] development office, Pierre Chilia visited the school and recruited player for Kanga Cricket using the soft ball.
The Ifira boy then played for the school team during the school competition. While playing school boy cricket, the son of Port Vila Netball Association President, Kathy Simon also played through several aged group teams of the Ifira Cricket Club which is comprised of boys living at Sumalapa which is located on the hill behind Malapoa College.
Five under 15 championship trophies, an under 19 championship and the 2011 senior championship for Ifira after 16 years were the great successes of club cricket.
Kalworai, first put on the Vanuatu jersey in 2007 when he made the national under 15 team and got nominated as the captain. They travelled to Samoa for the East Asia Pacific championships where they made the finals but lost to PNG.
That was the international bench mark for better days to come for our batsman. He later on made several under 19 selections. The team reached the finals on all occasions only to lose to PNG.
In Samoa, 2012 while participating in his first international senior competition, Vanuatu were crowned Division 8 World League Champions when they smashed Ghana in the grand- final. This was a first not only in cricket but in Vanuatu sport as a whole for any national team to be a champion in any “world” competition.
History was yet to be created and this came three years later when Samson once again made the senior national side and travelled to PNG for the Pacific Games. Determined to put an end to a losing streak with PNG, Vanuatu showed the Pacific champions what Vanuatu cricket was made of and beat them on their home soil in front of their home crowd.
This was Vanuatu’s first cricket gold medal in a South Pacific Games.
Nowadays, while training for the second stage of T20 World Cup qualifiers in April in PNG to defend the gold at this year’s Pacific games in Samoa, The 2015 Pacific Games gold medalist works as a development officer for the VCA, going to schools and growing the beautiful game amongst the kids.
Our bench setter is on contract like other national players and trains everyday receiving an allowance.
He mentioned that the VCA has a personal development program that attaches the players to do work experience and further training in any field they’re educated in.
Something which gives them an employment opportunity after cricket.
When asked how he sees Vanuatu cricket in five to ten years’ time, he smiled and said he believes that at the rate the sport is growing and the potential we have, Vanuatu could climb the world ranking from 26 which it is ranked at to even higher ranks and one day become a test nation to face off against the power houses such as Australia, England and India.