Papua New Guinea women's all-rounder Kaia Arua dies aged 33

New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) Papua New Guinea women’s all-rounder Kaia Arua has passed away, aged 33, said the country’s cricket governing body on Thursday. Kaia debuted for PNG at the East Asia-Pacific Trophy back in 2010, when the side took on hosts Japan in Sano.

She rose to become a regular for PNG in various East-Asia Pacific pathway events and Pacific Games cricket, before being named in the team's squad for the 2017 Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier.

“We are very sad to announce to you that our current player and most recent Lewas captain, Kaia Arua, passed away at Port Moresby General Hospital at midday today. Our sincere condolences and love go to her family, including coach John Ovia and Lucy Ovia, who have both been long-serving staff here at Cricket PNG.”

“Kaia had a remarkable playing career with the Lewas and at the right time, we will be recognizing that contribution. We wish to respect the family’s privacy at this difficult time, and we will release more details as approved by her family,” said Richard Done, CEO, Cricket PNG, in a statement.

Kaia took the captaincy of PNG in a match against Ireland at the 2018 Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier and was named in the ICC Women's Global Development squad in the same year. She took the PNG captaincy permanently at the 2019 East Asia-Pacific T20 World Cup Qualifier.

Kaia helped her side to a tournament win and qualification for both the 2019 ICC Women's T20 World Cup Qualifier and the 2021 Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier tournaments. In a period of growth in women's franchise T20 cricket, Arua also featured in Fairbreak tournaments across 2022 and 2023 for the Falcons.

A flowing left-arm wrist spinner and an intelligent stroke player with the bat, Kaia led PNG in 39 T20Is with official status, winning 29 matches. Her 59 T20I wickets at 10.2 is the most by a PNG women's international, with her figures of 5/7 (4) against Japan the second-best in her team's T20I history.

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