Interview with Nattaya Boochatham – All-rounder from Thailand women’s cricket team

 Interview with Nattaya Boochatham - All-rounder from Thailand women's cricket team

1. What drove you to cricket? Walk us through your initial cricket days?
I started playing cricket because I used to play softball and it was similar to softball so I had a go at it. Initially when I started playing cricket, I was nervous and didn’t quite understand anything much about the sport.

2. Who were your cricket role model / inspiration whilst growing up?
MS Dhoni, for his calm and his cool manner on the field in high pressure situations.

3. Back then how did you cope up with your studies / education / other commitments along with cricket? Was it hard to convince your parents about choosing this profession?
Personally it was not hard for me to manage my time between studies. There was no issues with my family since they were very supportive and believed I should pursue what I love which is cricket and playing for the nation.

4. Is cricket a sustainable profession in Thailand or there’s something more players do for a living?
Cricket is a sustainable profession since it pays the same as a 9-5 job here.

5. When and how did you come to know about your selection in the national team? 
I was happy, overwhelmed and nervous. My family was equally happy.

6. What was the general perception about women’s cricket in Thailand when you took it as a profession?
Supportive and happy for me since I had an opportunity to do what I wanted.

7. What do you feel is an area to work and improve on at a personal level?
I would like to improve my English. English is very important in cricket and everyday life.

8. How has Thailand women’s cricket evolved over the years?
It has change drastically in a good way. We have more fans, more people playing cricket and competing at a very good level.

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9. How is women’s cricket perceived today in Thailand community?
Off the back of our SEA games gold medal cricket has become even more popular.

10. Could you tell us more about the current coaching staff, support staff and team administrators for Thailand women’s cricket?
Our women’s national coach is JC Gamage. He is very calm, understanding and works very hard on individuals to improve their game. Our other staff are very supportive and work hard to provide us with a pathway to move forward.

11. Throw some light on the current domestic structure in Thailand ? Highlight some of the camps/tournaments that have helped churn out quality female cricket players?
At the moment we have an Elite League set up consisting of 4 teams where the players are selected from the annual national games and through talent identification programs so we have the best 40-50 female cricketers competing in this event. This year the association recently implemented a youth Elite League for girls under the age of 19 to participate in because of the growing popularity of the sport and also to lay a pathway for younger cricketers to be able to compete. High performance programs in Hyderabad and Sri Lanka have also helped us improve our understanding and performance in the sport.

12. ICC Women’s World Cup 2017 was a great platform to raise the profile of women’s cricket across the World. Is there any tournament in Thailand designed especially for female cricketers?
The Elite League
The Nationals Games we have 13 provinces competing.

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13. A moment that you feel was the turning point for women’s cricket in Thailand?
SEA games medal has been the biggest turning point for women’s cricket in Thailand. Helping increase popularity of the sport in Thailand.

14. What is the biggest challenge still prevalent in the Thailand women’s cricket circuit? Highlight the steps taken to mitigate these challenges.
Getting sponsors on board is a big challenge for us, with recognition from sponsors we could increase our backroom staff and have more tours to improve our standard. Hopefully the SEA games gold will help us take a step closer towards getting sponsors on board.

15. How many cricket academies do we have for girls in Thailand right now?
We have established 4 cricket academies around the nation but not specifically for girls.

16. How important is the upcoming tournament – T20 Asia World Cup Qualifiers for you and the team?
It is very important. It is an opportunity for us to qualify for the world cup which is every nation’s ultimate goal.

17. How’s the preparation going on? Where do you see your team in the tournament?
We are well prepared and we expect to win the tournament.

18. A lot of aspiring female cricketers have asked us this question. What are the pathway / steps to playing for your country (Thailand)?
Through our school and provincial competitions and talent identification. Then through to the Elite program, where the final filtration process happens.

Vishal Yadav, Founder & CEO at Female Cricket

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