BIG MAN: Fijian fast bowler Viliame Manakitoga warms up in Buderim yesterday.
BIG MAN: Fijian fast bowler Viliame Manakitoga warms up in Buderim yesterday. John Mccutcheon

Fijian bowler lives for cricket success

CRICKET: It takes Fijian cricketer Viliame Manakitoga several days to reach his tiny island from the main island of Viti Levu, but he says the journey is well worth the privilege of playing for his country.

Manakitoga is from Moce, a small island with a population of just 900, where he says cricket is very popular.

The towering 200cm fast bowler is also handy on the rugby field, but his heart lies with cricket.

"I played rugby too, but I love playing cricket," Manakitoga said.

"There are plenty of people playing rugby in Fiji, so by playing cricket I had a better chance of getting selected to play for my country.

"Then I could go overseas and play.

"I have visited many countries like Africa, Australia, New Zealand and we might be going to India."

The 25-year-old went to primary school on his small island before attending boarding school in Suva for his secondary studies.

With no airport on his tiny island, Manakitoga said coming home for school holidays was an arduous journey.

"It would take me 10 days (by boat) to get home to my family," he said.

"A very long journey."

As a boy, Manakitoga grew up idolising the Australian cricket team and watched them play whenever he could.

"Brett Lee is my favourite bowler and he is very quick," Manakitoga said.

"I want to be just like him.

"I want to be a good player like the Australians."

Manakitoga is on the Sunshine Coast with the Fijian cricket team as part of its Australian tour.

The team played the Flinders XI at Buderim yesterday morning before facing Nambour yesterday afternoon.

Manakitoga bowled up a storm against Maroochydore on Tuesday with

figures of 4-30.

"I played well and got some wickets which was very nice," Manakitoga said.

"It is always nice to win."



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