Hard work, perseverance, discipline, and a lot of infectious positive energy.
That’s what the Thailand women’s cricket team is made up of, and in a country where the mere existence of cricket is sparingly known to the population, the Women have carved a niche for themselves in the span of a period of 13 years, from not understanding the rules to participating in a World Cup.
The team first made it’s debut against Bangladesh in 2007 and lost its first match, however the team only played with nations part of the Asian Cricket Council, and was considerably limited to regional matches organised by the committee. This ended as they participated in the World Cup qualifiers in 2013, and progressing with impressive intensity, they received a major breakthrough as they were granted full member status by the ICC in T20s in 2018, providing them the limelight they needed. Fast forward to the very next year, they managed to have a 17 match consecutive winning streak, winning the ICC women’s Asian qualifier on home soil, and successfully placing themselves alongside the top 8 teams in the world in the T20 World Cup in 2020, marking a landmark moment in Thai cricket which would surely go down in history.
Their tale is one of absolute spirit and soul which each member of the team has inexplicably displayed. With only 11 contracted players in the nation and mostly all team members employed from other sports, including the captain, who was discovered playing softball, the team has had semi – professional players, who juggled other jobs along with cricket to make ends meet. Nevertheless, their growth has never stopped, and it will never.
Before the start of their very first World Cup, the team began staying together akin to sisters in a rented Bangkok House provided by the Cricket Association of Thailand. Dictated by a strict regime for practices, staying together helped them learn a lot about each other, and they entered the marquee contest as diverse yet united individuals.
Not winning any match in their quota at the World Cup, there was still nothing more heartwarming than the smiles they wore with hands slung around each other’s shoulders, as their post match ritual of bowing to the crowd with folded hands added to their appeal, a gesture which helped them convey their regard and display their respect for the game, it’s officials, and it’s spectators.
Around the world there are various nations where sufficient funding and interest in the sport have supported the growth of women’s cricket in the region, but in the case of Thailand, both were absent, and even with minimal resources and only hope to begin with, their journey has been absolutely remarkable.
“We want the world to know that we can play, for us to set the benchmark for the new generation of Thai cricketers to show this is the level you have to be performing at,” said member of the team, Nattaya Boochatham, and inspiring a new generation of Thai players to represent their country through the form of cricket, there is no doubt that Thailand cricket is on the threshold of absolute greatness.