Josefa Falani "Joe" Rika (9 November 1987 – 3 February 2020) was a Fijian cricketer who made his debut for the Fijian national side in June 2006. Beginning in 2010, he captained the side in several international tournaments, and also worked for Cricket Fiji in coaching and development roles.

Josefa Rika
Personal information
Full nameJosefa Falani Rika
Born(1987-11-09)9 November 1987
Fiji
Died3 February 2020(2020-02-03) (aged 32)
BattingLeft-handed
BowlingRight-arm off spin
International information
National side
Source: CricketArchive, 26 August 2015

Educated at Lelean Memorial School, Rika made his debut for the Fijian under-19 team at the 2001 EAP Under-19 Trophy, aged only 13. [1] Playing alongside his older brother, Colin, he played in all four matches, but scored only 14 runs and failed to take a wicket.[2][3] In 2003 and 2005, no separate under-19 tournament was held for ICC East Asia-Pacific members, with those teams instead competing alongside teams from the ICC Africa region. In the 2003 combined tournament in Namibia, both Fiji and Rika had little luck with the bat, although Rika took figures of 3/14 against Nigeria.[4] At the 2005 combined tournament in South Africa, he was Fiji's leading runscorer, finishing with 126 runs.[5] His best was 41, against Uganda.[6]

The EAP Under-19 Trophy and Africa Under-19 Championships were re-established as separate competitions in 2007, with the EAP tournament held in Vanuatu. Appointed Fiji's captain, Rika began the tournament with scores of two against Vanuatu and four against Papua New Guinea,[1] but in the following match, against Japan, scored a remarkable 257 runs from 145 balls, out of a team total of 440/8.[7] His innings included 37 fours and 9 sixes, including three sixes in consecutive balls at one point.[8] A writer for ESPNcricinfo described Rika's innings as "what must rank as one of the most breathtaking knocks in the history of age-group cricket".[9] Fiji again faced Japan in its next match, the third-place playoff, but were set a total of only 36 runs, with Rika scoring another 28 not out from 10 balls.[10] Unsurprisingly, he led the tournament in both batting average and runs scored – the next-best Fijian batsman scored only 50 runs overall.[11]

That 2007 tournament was Rika's last at under-19 level, and he had made his senior debut in the gap between under-19 events, appearing for Fiji in the 2006 EAP Trophy and the 2007 World Cricket League Division Three tournament.[1] His EAP Trophy had included an innings of 50 not out in the opening match against Japan, made from 49 balls.[12] At the 2008 WCL Division Four tournament in Tanzania, Rika was the only Fijian batsman to record more than 100 runs overall, finishing with 194 runs and a batting average of 32.33.[13] His best innings, 62, came in the 5th-place playoff against Jersey, which his team won.[14] However, both teams were relegated to the 2010 Division Five tournament in Nepal. Rika, aged 22 at the time, was appointed Fiji's captain in the place of the injured Joe Sorovakatini,[15] and again made his highest score against Jersey, although his innings of 75 from 134 balls was not enough to prevent his side losing.[16] Fiji and Jersey were eventually both relegated again, to the 2011 Division Six event in Malaysia. Again named captain, Rika led Fiji's batting with 185 runs from six innings,[17] and twice scored half-centuries – 55 against Kuwait and 52 against Jersey.[18][19]

At the 2013 WCL Division Seven tournament in Botswana, Rika scored 76 from 122 balls against Ghana,[20] but also recorded two ducks, against Botswana and Germany.[1] At the end of the tournament, he announced that he would be retiring from playing, despite being only 25.[21] Having served as a development manager with Cricket Fiji since 2010,[22] Rika further involved himself in development roles, going on to coach the Fijian under-19 side at the 2013 EAP Under-19 Trophy.[23] However, in June 2014 he announced that he would come out of retirement and continue playing for Fiji in international tournaments, alongside his development work.[24] Rika captained Fiji at the 2014 EAP Twenty20 Championship and was also appointed for the 2015 WCL Division Six tournament in England.[1] As Cricket Fiji's high performance manager, he coached the Fijian women's team at the 2015 Pacific Games.[25]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e Miscellaneous matches played by Josefa Rika – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  2. ^ Batting and fielding for Fiji Under-19s, East Asia-Pacific Under-19 Championship 2001/02 – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  3. ^ Bowling for Fiji Under-19s, East Asia-Pacific Under-19 Championship 2001/02 – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  4. ^ Fiji Under-19s v Nigeria Under-19s, Africa/East Asia-Pacific Under-19 Championship 2003/04 (5th Place Play-off Semi-Final) – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  5. ^ Batting and fielding for Fiji Under-19s, Africa/East Asia-Pacific Under-19 Championship 2005 – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  6. ^ Fiji Under-19s v Uganda Under-19s, Africa/East Asia-Pacific Under-19 Championship 2005 (Pool 2) – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  7. ^ (20 July 2007). Rika hammers 257 as Fiji crush Japan – ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  8. ^ (20 July 2007). PNG Hit Top Gear; Fiji Captain Slams 257 – ICC EAP. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  9. ^ Sami-ul-Hasan (20 July 2007). "Fiji captain Josefa Rika hammers scintillating 257" – ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  10. ^ Fiji Under-19s v Japan Under-19s, East Asia-Pacific Under-19 Championship 2007 (3rd Place Play-off) – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  11. ^ Batting and fielding in East Asia-Pacific Under-19 Championship 2005 (ordered by runs) – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  12. ^ Fiji v Japan, East Asia-Pacific Trophy 2006 – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  13. ^ Batting and fielding for Fiji, ICC World Cricket League Division Four 2008/09 – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  14. ^ Fiji v Jersey, ICC World Cricket League Division Four 2008/09 (5th Place Play-off) – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  15. ^ Strong Blues Squad Announced For WCL 5 – Fiji Cricket Association. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  16. ^ Fiji v Jersey, ICC World Cricket League Division Five 2009/10 (5th Place play-off) – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  17. ^ Batting and fielding for Fiji, ICC World Cricket League Division Six 2011 – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  18. ^ Fiji v Kuwait, ICC World Cricket League Division Six 2011 – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  19. ^ Fiji v Jersey, ICC World Cricket League Division Six 2011 – CricketArchive. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  20. ^ Fiji v Ghana, ICC World Cricket League Division Seven 2013 – CricketArchive. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  21. ^ (16 April 2013). "Sport: Fiji hopeful for Rika rain-check on retirement" – Radio New Zealand International. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  22. ^ (10 June 2010). "Cricket Fiji Appoints Development Manager" – Cricket Fiji. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  23. ^ (26 June 2013). Cricketers target under-19 finalThe Fiji Times. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  24. ^ Sport: Fiji's Rika to come out of retirement – Radio New Zealand International. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  25. ^ Kalesi Mele (10 June 2015). Team banks on overseas-based playerThe Fiji Times. Retrieved 27 August 2015.

External linksEdit