Once legendary Amitabh Bachchan quoted “Because you are women, people will force their thinking on you, their boundaries on you. They will tell you how to dress, how to behave, who you can meet and where you can go. Don”t live in the shadows of people”s judgment. Make your own choices in the light of your own wisdom.”
Thailand National Women’s Cricket team has just defined their own legacy by qualifying for their first-ever T-20 Women’s World Cup in Australia. This qualification is more special because this has happened first time in the history of Thailand Cricket across all formats and all genders.
Thailand team played their first international match on 12 July 2007 and dismissed on a mere total of 40 runs by Nepal. Not a single individual was able to score runs in double figures but a lot has been changed after that. Nattaya Boochatham and Sornnarin Tippoch are still playing for their country and they both were the part of that first match as well. They are not just a cricketer any longer in their country; they are the role models for every budding cricketer in Thailand who is willing to take this sport.
Thailand had played in the last three global T20 Qualifiers and had climbed the world rankings but they surpassed all previous achievements by winning their three group matches by beating Netherlands, Namibia and Ireland who they had now beaten three times in the space of a month. On Thursday 5th September, Thailand played the most important match in their cricket history as they faced Papua New Guinea in the semi-finals.
Just one more victory would take them into the final of the global qualifier but more significantly Thailand would qualify for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup for the first time and face the trip of a lifetime to Australia early next year.
On the biggest day of their lives the Thai girls had completely outplayed the opposition as they reached a global final and qualified for their country’s first ever Cricket World Cup.
Thailand Women’s story of success on the cricket field stretches back to 2008 when several of this team played in an ACC U-19 competition held in Chiang Mai and then in 2013 it was Chanida’s swing bowling that saw Thailand surprise China to qualify for their first global qualifier in 2013. The Thailand team made national headlines for winning gold for cricket at the SEA Games in Malaysia in 2017 but this is their greatest achievement of all.
Thailand Coach and Ex Maharashtra Ranji Trophy Coach Harshal Pathak described this victory “From January, we had a plan with the number of matches we wanted to play. We had a very progressive build-up. We were pretty confident about doing well because we had plans in place and we had gotten better in executing those plans. What I had found was that their fielding was excellent. Even before I joined, they were a very good fielding unit. They were a good bowling unit and had a lot of talent in bowling. The thing I worked on most was the batting aspect”.
Such feedback coming from Harshal Pathak, the Indian coach who is credited with developing Harmanpreet Kaur from talented youngster to superstar, proves that this talented group was in need of guidance and Thailand Cricket Association has provided them that much needed support which resulted into such massive achievement.
Tippoch, Sutthiruang and four others are fully contracted players and employees in the Thailand set-up, doing coaching and development work when not playing matches. ICC Game Development team has provided assistance as and when required and now these girls are all ready to board themselves in a flight to Australia for a memorable event in their lifetime.