An incredible journey – Thailand Women’s Cricket Team

Cricket is not a game, a sport or a mere media of entertainment and success. Cricket is a way of life. Just like life, cricket has its own struggles and low points and like it all goes, its most successful stories as well. While some tap the opportunities, some create them and then they make themselves a life that millions wish to live. Cricket, as it is believed to be a religion, has its own cultural and emotional connections as well and that is what makes it the most loved game.

Thailand Women's Cricket Team
Thailand Women’s Cricket Team. Pic Credits: ICC

Some watch cricket, some criticize it, some follow it but some live it and some make it better, create the memories that become records and those numbers and names are plated into golden letters that shine through the generations. Cricket has never been limited to the boundaries on the maps; instead, it broadens them, reaches out to people who have never seen it and conquers their hearts. Those who have put their hearts and souls into cricket know that cricket shall never leave their hearts.

Thailand, famously known as the “Land of Smiles” has been on the cards for being established as a strong cricketing nation. Here’s to this enthralling journey of the Thai cricketers, a heartwarming story that is sure to inspire and encourage millions.

Cricket found its way into Thailand way back in the year 1890, when the Bangkok City Cricket Club was found. Cricket has always been an option which came very much after other sports like football, golf, tennis and Muay Thai. It was only in the year 1971 that cricket was seen as a competitive sport with the establishment of the Thailand Cricket League. In the year 2004, it was renamed as the Cricket Association of Thailand (CAT) and a year later in 2005; it became an associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC). However, the Thai community has done little to accept and promote cricket in the subcontinent. In July 2007, they made their cricket debut against Bangladesh and lost two matches. It was only in 2013, six years after their international debut that Thailand played outside the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) in the World Twenty20 Qualifiers where they were placed fifth among eight teams that had participated. Things did not really get better as in the 2015 edition of the same tournament, Thailand finished at the seventh spot and had won only one game against the Netherlands and were also the hosts for the same. Despite the low popularity rate of the game in the country, Thailand cricket kept taking noticeable strides and there was no looking back.

In 2016, The Sri Lankan fast bowler, Janak Gamage was named as the head coach for the team. In February 2017, Thailand women’s cricket team made its One Day International Debut against the mighty Indians in the Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Sri Lanka. Thailand lost to the women in blue. Later in August 2017, Malaysia had hosted the 29th Southeast Asian Games and Thailand finished second in the medal tally after the conclusion of the event. Thailand won the gold medal at the women’s tournament going undefeated from four matches.

All the members of the Thailand women’s cricket team were granted the full Women’s Twenty20 International (WT20I) status in April 2018. After 1st July 2018, all the matches played between Thailand and other international sides, have been considered as fully WT20Is.

On 9th June, 2018 Thailand beat Sri Lanka by 4 wickets in the Women’s Twenty20 Asia cup which made it their first-ever win against a full member squad.  Another noticeable boost came in February 2019 when the team won the 2019 ICC Women’s Qualifier Asia taking them to both the 2019 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier and the 2020 ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifiers. Later in the year in August, Thailand surpassed the Aussie’s world record and became the first team to have won 17 T20Is successively.

We often talk about the successes, the records, the names, and the numbers but little do we bother to take an insight into the process through which it has emerged and the people who shaped and sharpened these legends, these amateurs and built these teams. The very crux of Thailand women’s cricket team lies in three major people. Captain Sornnarin Tippoch, CAT CEO Mohideen Kader and Coach Harshal Pathak. It is this trio that has contributed and put in combined efforts to take Thailand cricket to greater heights.

Thailand Women's cricket team creates history
Thailand Women’s cricket team creates history

On 5th September 2019, the Thailand Women’s Cricket team Created History as they beat Papua New Guinea Women to march into the 2019 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 in Australia. Thailand finished in the top two and qualified for the Twenty20 World Cup along with Bangladesh. Thailand had been contesting these qualifiers since 2013 but it is only in 2019 that they have made it to the World Cup.