Cricketer determined to do NTT proud at PON Papua Games


Rojerio Maxi Toda never thought that playing cricket, which was not his favorite sport at first, would earn him a slew of achievements in national as well as international competitions.

The cricket player said he used to dislike the sport since it was foreign to him. Born in 1994, he said he had spent a greater portion of his childhood playing football.

One day, however, he became a little interested in one part of the game—bowling. That slight interest sparked his journey to becoming a cricket player, he said.

“When I first saw people playing cricket, I was only interested in the ball throwing part, or bowling, in cricketing terms. For me, it was the easier part because I used to have a habit of throwing stones or sticks to drop some mangoes or coconuts when walking through farms in the village,” said Toda, who hails from Merdeka Village, Alor District, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Province.

Rojerio said his interest in cricket continued to grow from that point and became the doorway to his learning to play cricket seriously.

He also diligently practiced for cricket matches after joining the cricket team of a public junior high school in Kupang City.

This led to Rojerio, then 14 years old, getting recruited to the NTT provincial cricket team and competing in an Under-15 national cricket championship in Jakarta, from where players were selected for the national cricket team.

It was at that point that he began his journey as a professional cricketer.

Rojerio along with three other cricket athletes from NTT were selected to join the Indonesian national cricket team and participate in the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia, where he won a bronze medal in the Southeast Asian countries’ sports event.

Rajerio said winning a medal in an international competition was the result of a long period of hard work.

“The key is to keep working hard. That’s the principle I always hold on to. Work hard in training and in competition to win a game,” he remarked.

Apart from hard work, increasing physical and mental endurance is also very important in playing cricket because a cricket match can last quite a long time, at least three hours, he said.

Therefore, he considers it important to maintain stable stamina by adopting healthy life habits, such as getting regular and sufficient sleep as well as having a nutritious and balanced diet.

Rojerio also gained experience at the international level by participating with the national team in a friendly match in Sri Lanka in 2019.

Rojerio’s career as a professional cricketer, however, did not always run smoothly. There were times when he and his team had to suffer defeat, such as during the 2019 Cricket World Cup qualification match in the Philippines.

Nevertheless, he said he always finds a way not to get bogged down by any loss or failure.

For Rojerio, there are always valuable lessons to be learned from every failure. He even believes that some of his failures have encouraged him to improve the quality of his performance for the next match.

“I think every defeat happens due to some weaknesses and shortcomings, so the important thing is that we evaluate them and then fix them to be prepared for the next match,” he said.

This “fall-get up-and-learn” principle has always been the way for Rojerio, who has joined the NTT cricket team to compete in the 20th National Sports Week (PON) in Papua, which will take place over two weeks from October 2-15 this year.

He said participating in such a national sports event for gold was an opportunity for him to make his province–NTT–proud.

“I believe the NTT cricket team can show our best in this PON because we have been doing much preparation … a lot of training and coaching for months,” he stated.

Rajerio also looks at the competition positively.

“For me, all teams are the toughest opponents, so it takes hard work to win every game,” he said.

Rojerio and his partner Christian Toda, who is also on the national cricket team, will strengthen the NTT cricket team at the Papua PON. The two national players have lifted the optimism of NTT’s Board of Indonesian Cricket Association (PCI), which is now expecting the province to bring home some medals.

The NTT cricket team has even set the target of winning three gold medals from three cricket matches at the PON XX Papua.

“Our target is to get three gold medals at the Papua PON. The cricket team is in a very good condition both physically and mentally to compete,” said NTT’s PCI chairman Inche Sayuna.

The target of three gold medals for this year’s PON, according to Sayuna, is quite realistic since the NTT cricket team, which was not considered a superior team in the 2016 PON in West Java, has finally been able to win a bronze medal.

In addition, the NTT cricket team previously won a gold medal at the Pre-PON event.

“Therefore, the NTT cricket team actually has a winning mentality, it is just a matter of how all our abilities can be mobilized to show the best performance in this PON sports event,” Sayuna remarked.

Source: Antara News