For most young athletes who are rising stars in their sport, performance is the only thing they need to worry about.

However, Hollan Doriga, at 19, is the sole provider for her parents and three younger siblings.

“My mother and father are not working. It’s only me who plays cricket and gets money,” Doriga told ABC Sport.

“I want to become a really good player so I can continue to feed my family and look after them.

“I am the only one who can.”

Five-star performance at the T20 Pacific Cup

Doriga’s first overseas tour with the national women’s cricket team, the PNG Lewas, was in April to play NSW Country in Wodonga.

It was also her first time on a plane.

Doriga, a bowler, impressed with the bat, coming agonisingly close to hitting a maximum on the her first ball.

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PNG needed a notional 40 runs to win from the final over of the match when Doriga came in.

She ended up hitting 4, 6, 6 and 4.

It was the first time PNG Lewas head coach Kath Hempenstall had seen Doriga play competitively and she was impressed by her dynamism.

“She made the game look a lot closer than it was,” Hempenstall said.

“She came out so aggressive. That’s her mindset. There’s no scenario she’s not comfortable batting in.”

Doriga’s next outing was the World Cup Qualifier in Abu Dhabi in September, where she made her official international cricket debut against Zimbabwe.

A female cricketer in long tracksuit pants and pink competition shirt about
Hollan Doriga made T20 history by taking five wickets in just 10 balls against Fiji at the Pacific Cup this year. (Supplied: Cricket PNG )

However, it was a month later in Vanuatu at the T20 Pacific Cup where Doriga had her moment.

PNG won the Pacific Cup but, in their first match of the tournament, Doriga stunned everyone by taking five wickets in just 10 balls against Fiji, rightfully earning her the player of the match award.

“She’s got the X factor. She’s definitely our most exciting up-and-coming talent,” Hempenstall said.

Doriga, the Diamond of South Perth  

A female bowler in full flight as she bowls during a cricket match.
Hollan Doriga’s coaches say she has a “really strong energy” on the pitch.(Supplied: PNG Lewas)

Doriga is one of seven PNG players who have been selected to play in Australia over the summer.

The players are placed in high-performance squads and state-based premier cricket competitions, funded by the Australian government’s PacificAus Sports program.

Doriga and her PNG Lewas teammate, Sibona Jimmy, are currently in Western Australia.

When head coach of the women’s program at South Perth Cricket Club, Chris Andrews, heard he was getting two PNG players for several weeks, he didn’t know what he was in for.

A head shot of a smiling, bearded man with dark hair.
South Perth Cricket Club head coach of the women’s program Chris Andrews didn’t know what to expect from the PNG players.(Supplied: PNG Lewas)

“Cricket in the Pacific nations isn’t well documented, especially over here in Western Australia,” Andrews said.

“I didn’t know what to expect but, straight away, when I saw Hollan in action, I was, like, ‘Far out, this is something special’. I was excited to be honest.” 

Andrews said Doriga had settled in well and had been a great fit for the South Perth team.

Two female cricketers, side by side, with their arms around each other. One has dark hair under a team cap, the other is blonde.
Hollan Doriga in the South Perth cricket club sky blues with Perth Scorchers player Georgia Wyllie. (Supplied: Cricket PNG)

“There’s just something about her. She’s a very laid-back person but a very special cricketer,” he said.

“I call her a rare diamond.

“She’s a super fast bowler for the women’s competition. And has really strong energy out on the pitch. She makes the batters a little nervous about what type of ball they’re going to get,” Andrews said.

The only ‘cricket village’ in PNG

Hanuabada is the spiritual home of cricket in PNG
Hanuabada is the spiritual home of cricket in PNG  (Supplied: ICC)

Some 4,080 kilometres away from the affluent suburbs of South Perth, Doriga’s home is in PNG’s cult “cricket village” of Hanuabada.

Hanuabada, or HB to the locals, is the only place in PNG where you can be raised on cricket.

Cricket as a sport for women is rarely questioned in Hanuabada. Girls and boys grow up playing it.

In fact, it was Doriga’s aunties who inspired her.

“When I was small, I’d go to the cricket grounds with my family to see them play and I knew in myself, when I grow up, I can play cricket like them and even become professional,” Doriga said.

Hanuabada kids playing in the street
In Hanuabada, cricket is part of life, from dawn to dusk. The streets are turned into pitches and planks of wood become makeshift bats.(Supplied: ICC)

Doriga has two brothers, aged 16 and 12 years, and a 1-year-old sister. Sometimes she worries about her family when on tour.

“But my mother and father tell me not to [worry]. They say: ‘We are fine, just think of yourself.'”

Hempenstall told the ABC it was culturally common for the husbands of players in the women’s squad to not work but it was rare for a young woman like Doriga to support her parents and younger siblings.

“Money and work is hard to find where I’m from,” Doriga said.

Regardless of her family’s financial responsibility being pinned to her playing career, Doriga said she’s happy in herself. 

Front-on portrait of a female cricketer from Papua New Guinea. She has a broad smile and very curly brown hair.
Hollan Doriga, 19, can’t wait to get back to her mum’s cooking.(Supplied: Hollan Doriga)

Her coaches say she’s known for her sense of humour and practical jokes. She’s also the resident DJ in the squad.

“When we’re on tour, I play music in the change room, the bus, wherever the girls are,” she said.

Alicia Keys, Michael Jackson and Akon are favourites.

Doriga is still weeks away from returning home but, when she gets back, she knows her mother’s fish and rice dinners will be waiting for her.

“That’s the first thing I’m going to eat when I get back to PNG.”