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ACT Premier Cricket: PNG international Jason Kila using Canberra stint to test himself

Rugby league will always be the national sport of Papua New Guinea, but North Canberra Gungahlin batsman Jason Kila says cricket is gaining popularity.

Kila is spending the summer playing in the ACT Premier Cricket competition with Norths as part of an arrangement with Cricket PNG to test himself in different conditions.

The 26-year-old middle-order batsman played seven Twenty20 internationals for PNG in 2012 before losing his spot in the team.

"Playing in Canberra is a good experience for me and I need to be more consistent to fight back into the team," Kila said.

"I've learnt a lot of stuff because I've been playing against some of the good cricketers here and they helped me very much.

"Rugby league is still No.1, but cricket is getting bigger."


PNG have improved to 15th in the International Cricket Council world rankings and are aiming to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

They are continuing their development with a four-day Intercontinental Cup match against Ireland in Townsville, starting on Sunday, followed by three T20 matches.

The cricket season in PNG is held during the winter, allowing Kila to spend the wet season fine-tuning his game in Canberra.

It was more than a decade ago that he visited Australia for the first time on a cricket tour, travelling to Melbourne with the PNG under-15 side in 2005.

Since then, Kila has represented his country and toured England where they played against county teams.

Kila demonstrated his immense talent with two impressive knocks in last weekend's outright win against Ginninderra.

Promoted to No.3 in the batting order, Kila scored a patient 64 in the first innings before rattling off a quick-fire 45 in the second as Norths sealed victory with two minutes left in the game.

"I could play my own game like I do at home," Kila said.

"We play 50-over games and 20-overs back home, we don't play much two-dayers.

"It's a bit hard for me in the conditions and be patient, it's changed me for the summer I've been here."

Norths will be aiming to consolidate their spot in the top four when they take on Tuggeranong at Chisholm Oval.

It is Tuggeranong's first game since they were bundled out for just 17 in last week's loss to Wests/UC.

In other games, ladder-leaders Wests/UC host Eastlake at Jamison Oval, Queanbeyan aim to keep in touch with the top four against Weston Creek Molonglo and Ginninderra take on ANU at Kippax.

SATURDAY: ACT Premier Cricket: Douglas Cup: Wests/UC v Eastlake at Jamison Oval. Queanbeyan v Weston Creek Molonglo at Freebody No 1 Oval. Tuggeranong v North Canberra Gungahlin at Chisholm No 1 Oval. Ginninderra v ANU at Kippax No 1 Oval.