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The unsung heroes of Thailand

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Thais are proud of their women’s volleyball team. Yes the team is damn good, and  has brought home many accolades. Respect. The Thai women’s cricket team, however, is relatively unknown, yet deserves just as much recognition. These  ‘unsung heroes of Thailand’ are making our country proud on an international level, yet most people here don’t know much about them. Have we really ever thought or heard about women’s cricket in Thailand? Have we ever made an attempt to learn about cricket?

Compared to football, volleyball and Muay Thai, cricket is far from popular in Thailand. On the other hand, if you go to countries like England, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Caribbean nations and even Zimbabwe, it’s one of the most popular sports.  In India, people even consider it to be a religion. I myself have been known to bunk classes and the office to watch the game on TV.

Ten years ago I doubt there was a single Thai female – and by that I mean a native Thai – who knew much about cricket. A lady from Chiangmai (Northern Thailand), however, qualified as a coach in 2004 and her enthusiasm inspired a few other Thai girls to join in the game. Now Thailand has a squad rich in talent, skills and dedication. I have seen them play and also played with and against them. I have seen their practice session. Trust me, they’re damn good and talented. They work very hard to improve their techniques and approach to the game with the support of the coaches and facilities provided by CAT (Cricket Association of Thailand).

I got out (failed) once while playing against Thai girls. Yes, initially I was sad about the fact that I was taken out by a female teenage bowler. I felt horrible, trust me! But now when I look back on that day, I feel proud. Yeah! I’m proud of that Thai girl who bowled me out, as I know that an international player who represents our nation took my wicket.

One quality that impressed me the most was the ‘never say die’ attitude of those girls.  They fought hard on that sunny day. The captain and the senior players were motivating the whole team. They encouraged each other until last ball of the game. Wow! I learned a lot from them: Unity, patience, team spirit, never give up and never lose hope. Even though they lost that practice match against us, they won our hearts. From that point on I realized that these girls would go far. You might be be surprised to learn about their victories and achievements in and outside of Thailand.

In 2007 Thailand’s women played their first tournament, the inaugural ACC Women’s Championship, and did enough to show that they had the attitude of potential champions if not, as yet, the aptitude. In 2008, they came third in the U-19 ACC Women’s Championship, beating Hong Kong twice. In 2009, they made it the finals of the ACC Women’s Twenty20 Championship and ACC U-19 Challenge Cup.

Their performance has improved each year. In 2011 they came third in the ACC Women’s Twenty20 Championship. They were finalists in the ACC U-19 Women’s Championship in 2012. In 2013, they won the ACC Women’s Championship. Thailand went on to beat Canada, Netherlands and Zimbabwe at the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier in August this year and eventually won the Event Shield in ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Ireland.

I respect the girls for the hard work they put into the game. They are away from home training hard to shine for their country. They’re doing their best to serve the nation. Now it’s our duty to give back. They deserve respect and recognition amongst Thai citizens and the world. Like football, volleyball and other sports, we can make cricket a part of our culture as well.

MEET THE LOCAL: ARUN PANDEY

For the latest news about the Thai women’s cricket team, visit the Cricket Association of Thailand (CAT). The photo in this article is courtesy of CAT. 

Comments

5 Responses to The unsung heroes of Thailand

  1. Mahesh Malani says:

    Nice article Arun. Thai Women’s Team certainly deserves this appreciation.


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