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‘She’s a rare diamond’: Why a teenage fast bowler is the most exciting player in PNG cricket

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For most young athletes who are rising stars in their sport, performance is the only thing they need to worry about.

However, Hollan Doriga, at 19, is the sole provider for her parents and three younger siblings.

“My mother and father are not working. It’s only me who plays cricket and gets money,” Doriga told ABC Sport.

“I want to become a really good player so I can continue to feed my family and look after them.

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“I am the only one who can.”

Five-star performance at the T20 Pacific Cup

Doriga’s first overseas tour with the national women’s cricket team, the PNG Lewas, was in April to play NSW Country in Wodonga.

It was also her first time on a plane.

Doriga, a bowler, impressed with the bat, coming agonisingly close to hitting a maximum on the her first ball.

PNG needed a notional 40 runs to win from the final over of the match when Doriga came in.

She ended up hitting 4, 6, 6 and 4.

It was the first time PNG Lewas head coach Kath Hempenstall had seen Doriga play competitively and she was impressed by her dynamism.

“She made the game look a lot closer than it was,” Hempenstall said.

“She came out so aggressive. That’s her mindset. There’s no scenario she’s not comfortable batting in.”

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Doriga’s next outing was the World Cup Qualifier in Abu Dhabi in September, where she made her official international cricket debut against Zimbabwe.

Hollan Doriga made T20 history by taking five wickets in just 10 balls against Fiji at the Pacific Cup this year. (Supplied: Cricket PNG )

However, it was a month later in Vanuatu at the T20 Pacific Cup where Doriga had her moment.

PNG won the Pacific Cup but, in their first match of the tournament, Doriga stunned everyone by taking five wickets in just 10 balls against Fiji, rightfully earning her the player of the match award.

“She’s got the X factor. She’s definitely our most exciting up-and-coming talent,” Hempenstall said.

Doriga, the Diamond of South Perth  

A female bowler in full flight as she bowls during a cricket match.
Hollan Doriga’s coaches say she has a “really strong energy” on the pitch.(Supplied: PNG Lewas)

Doriga is one of seven PNG players who have been selected to play in Australia over the summer.

The players are placed in high-performance squads and state-based premier cricket competitions, funded by the Australian government’s PacificAus Sports program.

Doriga and her PNG Lewas teammate, Sibona Jimmy, are currently in Western Australia.

When head coach of the women’s program at South Perth Cricket Club, Chris Andrews, heard he was getting two PNG players for several weeks, he didn’t know what he was in for.

A head shot of a smiling, bearded man with dark hair.
South Perth Cricket Club head coach of the women’s program Chris Andrews didn’t know what to expect from the PNG players.(Supplied: PNG Lewas)

“Cricket in the Pacific nations isn’t well documented, especially over here in Western Australia,” Andrews said.

“I didn’t know what to expect but, straight away, when I saw Hollan in action, I was, like, ‘Far out, this is something special’. I was excited to be honest.” 

Andrews said Doriga had settled in well and had been a great fit for the South Perth team.

Two female cricketers, side by side, with their arms around each other. One has dark hair under a team cap, the other is blonde.
Hollan Doriga in the South Perth cricket club sky blues with Perth Scorchers player Georgia Wyllie. (Supplied: Cricket PNG)

“There’s just something about her. She’s a very laid-back person but a very special cricketer,” he said.

“I call her a rare diamond.

“She’s a super fast bowler for the women’s competition. And has really strong energy out on the pitch. She makes the batters a little nervous about what type of ball they’re going to get,” Andrews said.

The only ‘cricket village’ in PNG

Hanuabada is the spiritual home of cricket in PNG
Hanuabada is the spiritual home of cricket in PNG  (Supplied: ICC)

Some 4,080 kilometres away from the affluent suburbs of South Perth, Doriga’s home is in PNG’s cult “cricket village” of Hanuabada.

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