Thailand’s allrounder Chanida made her T20I debut against Pakistan in June 2018. Chanida was particularly impressive in the 2019 ICC Women’s Qualifier Asia tournament, notching up 101 runs in five innings. In a game against China in the tournament, she also became the first Thai woman to claim an international hat-trick.
Chanida also ended up as the leading wicket-taker in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019 with 12 scalps, including an incredible 4-13 against Namibia. She was also a part of Thailand’s squad for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup held in March earlier this year. This was Thailand’s maiden World Cup appearance. In a chat with Female Cricket, Chanida talks about her experience playing World Cup and her cricket journey so far.
Excerpts from the interview:
1. Tell us about your early days in cricket. What age did you start playing cricket?
I first started playing cricket when I was 18 years old. One of my teachers told me to try out this sport and that it’s a new challenge, so I started playing it.
2. What made you take up cricket as a profession? How did you manage school and sports?
It was quite hectic, to be honest. I wanted to be a Thai national athlete and since I enjoyed playing cricket so much, I thought maybe why not take it professionally. Also, cricket helped me travel to places that I’ve never been to. l practiced 2 days a week on Saturday and Sundays. I remember I would travel on a Friday evening from my house to Bangkok, which was about 500 kilometers from my place. After playing for 2 days, on the evening of Sunday, I would return back to my home and go to school on Monday as usual.
3. Before cricket, you played volleyball and basketball in your high school, did these sports help you in cricket?
I played Volleyball, Basketball, and every other sport that I got to explore in school. These sports made me very agile and helped a lot in cricket as well. Every sport compliments each other I feel.
4. When did you decide to choose cricket over the other sports that you played?
I remember getting the opportunity to travel to Kuwait and represent Thailand’s U-19 side. It was a great learning experience for all of us. The fact that I was playing my favorite sport and getting to do what I love i.e travel, I made up my mind to take this sport professionally.
5. Since you are an all-rounder, you are required to contribute with both, bat and ball. How do you hone both your skills equally?
I train differently for both the skills and I really like taking up challenges. Also, as an all-rounder I know I can contribute to my team in both ways, there’s no better feeling than that.
6. Who is your role model and what does it take to be a good all-rounder?
My role model is Ellyse Perry. I started out as a batter but I developed into an all-rounder because I want to have more roles in the team. It’s a new challenge. And I fell in love with bowling more because it made me feel that I controlled the game.
7. In June 2018 you made your T20I debut against Pakistan. How was the experience?
Of course, it was my first game and I was facing one of the world’s top ten teams. I was excited. I couldn’t control my emotions and tried my best as I grew up along admiring the Pakistan team as well. They can hit the ball really well and on their day can be a massive threat for their opponents.
8. In 2019, you were the third-highest wicket-taker in T20Is, did you expect it?
I honestly expected it because I had practiced a lot to be able to execute that in the competition. I was very happy with the overall homework, which gave me the courage to continue and perform.
9. How did you feel when you won the ICC Women’s Emerging Player of the Year in 2019?
I had never imagined myself receiving this award, it was a pleasant surprise. I thanked everyone who was part of my journey, taught me so many things. This recognition did motivate me to improve myself and continues to encourage me.
10. During the ICC Women’s Qualifier Asia Tournament in 2019, you picked up a hat-trick against China and became the first Thai woman to do so. Can you tell you about that match?
I wasn’t thinking about my hat-trick that day, to be honest. It was a rain-curtailed match and the overs were reduced, so my only focus was to restrict the Opponents (China) to as low score as possible. It was a high-pressure game, we later won it, and to get a hat-trick that day was like a cherry on the cake.
11. Opening the bowling when the field is up is one of the most difficult things in cricket. How do you prepare yourself for every match?
You need to concentrate more during such situations and keep a close eye on your field. Yes, it’s difficult but we do prepare for such situations while training.
12. This was yours as well as Thailand’s first World T20, how was the experience?
It was surreal. You got to be focussed all the time. I tried to watch as many games as possible to learn from them. I would closely observe bowlers from India, Australia, Pakistan and see how do their bowlers approach, how do they set the field, how did they prepare.
13. What was going on in the dressing room when all you girls were set to play your first World T20 match?
I meditate and talk to myself a lot during such crucial games. I thought to myself, every team at this stage has prepared themselves, and so have we. So there’s nothing to worry about and no reason to be afraid of anything. Everybody has the same intention and were all excited to go out and perform and make Thailand proud.
14. You faced West Indies, England, South Africa & Pakistan in the group stage during the World T20. What was the key learning from the four matches?
There was so much to learn from this tournament. The key learning was to be a fighter and give your 100% to the game. We also got to see the professionalism with which other teams play and perform. It was quite an experience.
15. You have already featured in 39 T20Is for Thailand, how do you see yourself growing as a cricketer in the future?
It’s a continuous learning experience I feel. I have always tried to improve on areas that I lack and have realized that there’s so much to work on myself because I aspire to be the best. I am training to keep myself both mentally and physically fit during this difficult time.
16. How is the perception of women’s cricket in Thailand changing?
With Thailand Women’s team playing in the World Cup at a global stage, more and more young girls have come forward and have started playing cricket. It’s great to see the participation increasing. More and more parents have witnessed the growth of women’s cricket and are willing to send their daughters to play cricket.
17. How is the coronavirus status in Thailand and how are you keeping yourself busy in the lockdown?
The situation is in control now, the number of positive cases has come down. Out of 3,000 positive cases in the country so far, 56 have lost their lives, but the good part is that the cases are not shooting up. I have stayed at home all this while and hoping this to end soon so that we can start cricket again.