The short history of cricket in this country has been an interesting and powerful one. From times when cricket was merely played by those living here from abroad, to being one win away from competing in the ICCT20 World Cup in Australia during 2020. Over only 12 years, cricket has grown into a sport being played by more than 3 000 Thai women, a game which is represented in each of the country’s 14 provinces in various age categories and a sport recognized by the local government as an official sport of the country. The driving force behind this growth is the CEO of the Cricket Association of Thailand, Mohideen Kader.
During 2007 Kader pushed a massive drive to expand the interest of the local people in this sport. Young Thai athletes from various backgrounds were invited to introductory games to get them interested in the game. One such athlete is none other than the current captain of the Thailand Women’s team, Sornnarin Tippoch. Tippoch grew up in Buriram, a Thai province situated about 400 kilometres from Bangkok and utterly unfamiliar with the sport. She came from a family of farmers, and the then 20-year old was a softball player. She did, however, saw the ease in transitioning from softball to cricket as something which can be done and because she would be much more likely to represent Thailand on an international level with cricket than with softball, she made the switch. A switch which meant for her captaincy of the Thai team merely one year later.
This drive fuelled by Kader turned out to be very successful, and it was only one year then, during 2008 that the government recognized the sport. 2013 was a great year when the team qualified to be in the ICCT20 World Cup qualifiers. Since then they have been present every year but never made it to the Cup. This year might bring the breakthrough which they hunger for. Currently, they only need a victory over the team of Papa New Guinea for Tippoch to be able to represent her country as a captain in the Cup.
The team played well but needed some guidance in the right direction. This guidance came with the appointment of Harshal Pathak. Pathak brought the knowledge and skills which the team needed to improve the technical aspects of their game and to increase their consistency of play. Since his appointment, they have been able to manage a record winning streak of no less than 17 matches consecutively. They also defeated Ireland, the Netherlands and Scotland in the quadrangle series.
The team is in the qualifying rounds with four bowlers in their camp, with record low averages in cricket history. Therefore it seems very promising that this year will be it for Thailand. The world is suddenly noticing their performance and the media coverage which they receive is magnificent for the sport’s expansion in Thailand.