The AERO-sponsored squad will need to be reduced to a final 14 ahead of the PNG tournament.
Team manager Carlene Mapu says most of the squad has been training regularly since returning from last May’s historic ICC tournament.
Players are training five times a week with skills sessions on Mondays and Tuesdays and 6am fitness sessions on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Mapu says that in the lead-up to the tournament the players will also train on Saturday as well as undertaking plenty of fundraising activities.
Head coach Patiiamai Ataela is enthusiastic about the women’s chances.
“The girls can be proud of their achievement at the last ICC tournament and the growth they have made since.
“The commitment levels are remarkably high for an amateur side and within the space of a year the team have gone from underdogs to widely-regarded medal contenders.”
Ataela adds that the team’s fitness is constantly improving under manager Mapu and he says most of the training leading up to the games is focused on improving players’ match awareness.
“Cricket is like a fast-moving game of chess. Things change rapidly. To win you need to be able to dictate the pace of the game and react under pressure.”
Ataela says experience is the key to performance and his job is made easier with 80 per cent of the squad having represented the Cook Islands at a major international tournament.
The women will swing into their Pacific Games fundraising activities this Thursday, selling plates of food at the Muri night market.
Cook Islands preliminary squad members are: Amantta Mangi (WK/RHB), Antoinette Hewett (RHB), Marii Kaukura (RAOS/RHB), Tekura Kaukura (RAF/RHB) all from Aitutkai, Benedicta Matapo (RAMP/RHB) from Mauke, Laupa Elikana (RAF), Mirioni Ravaia (RHB), Terito Ine (RHB) from Pukapuka - based in New Zealand, Daena Kataina (WK/LHB), Jasmanda Tuaputa (RHB), June George (RAMP/RHB), Lacynthia Rani (RAOS), Margaret Simiona (RAMP), Memory Kauvai (RHB), Phillica Maruariki (RHB), Punanga Kaveao (RAMP/RHB) and Tina Mato (WK/LHB) all from Rarotonga.
KEY: WK-wicket keeper, RHB-right hand batter, RAOS-right arm off spin, RAF-right arm fast, RAMP-right arm medium pace, LHB-left hand batter.
Don’t forget to support the women’s cricket squads’ fundraiser this Thursday at the Muri night market in Ngatangiia.