For a country remembered for martial arts and beaches, the story of Thailand’s women cricket team is inspiring and heroic in its own way.
The stories of small countries rising, in a game like a cricket, amounts to joy and smiles from fans throughout the globe. Bats are now common in all parts of the world. However, the advances by women in the game are no less significant. Women, not only from major established nations, wearing names of smaller and associate countries are making their mark. Fans and even experts may be surprised to know that Thailand women’s cricket team has the record for winning the most number of matches consecutively.
It passed over Australia and won 17 matches on a streak. For the greater part of their journey, the paths of the team have been scripted by struggles and sweats. It is, however, no exaggeration to say that the team has achieved considerable recognition with more wins on their way. The women team for Thailand made their debut on the field against Bangladesh in July 2007. The team played only with the Asian team who were members of the Asian Cricket Council and was primarily limited in regional events organized by ACC. This elongated trend was brought to rest when the team participated in the 2013 World T20 Qualifiers.
The team did considerably well as a newcomer by finishing at 5th position out of 8 international teams. Another jump for women of Thailand came when the 2015 World T20 Qualifiers were hosted by them. The team missed matching expectations. Nevertheless, the overall boost that such a tournament gives to the game in the country is undeniable. Some silent tenures were followed by 2017, the ladies from Thailand played their first ODI match in this year.
The team had to face a lethal Indian line up on Srilankan pitches in the 2017 Women’s World Cup Qualifier. However, a loss in February could not get the spirits down and in August, the team bagged a gold medal in women’s tournament in Southeast Asian games. Although, a major breakthrough for the players came in 2018 when ICC granted Thailand, along with other associate nations, a full member status in the shortest form of the game. With the permanent and full membership, the team got the recognition it needed. It meant that any T20 matches that the team played against an international team post-July 2018 would be termed a Full WT20 match.
This is one of the reasons why records of the team before 2018 are scarce for masses. 2018, however, was in no mood to rest, as the year had another gift for the team. In the women’s Asia cup, the women from Thailand got their first victory against a full member team against a mighty Srilanka. The momentum went unchanged into 2019 where the team clinched ICC Women’s Qualifier Asia. This victory assured the presence of ladies into ICC women’s World T20 Qualifier and 2020 Women’s World cup Qualifiers.
The record of winning 17 matches consecutively came in 2019 while playing the Netherland’s Quadrangular Series. Thailand brought great hopes to the fans by qualifying for the 2020 T20 World Cup. In what may be termed a remarkable development for any cricket fan, Thailand organized its inaugural T20 league and called it Thailand’s T20 smash league. In the same time frame, Thailand hosted ICC women’s Asia region qualifier and came out as proud winners on their home soil. Along with the quadrangular series in Netherland, Thailand took part in ICC Women’s T20 qualifiers.
Players like Chawai and Chatnam have been training extensively in camps held in India. Fans from Thailand and well-wishers of the game from all corners of the world have eyes on ladies of Thailand to put a mighty stop to the dearth of competition that the team faced in most part of the decade. It is hoped that with some valuable wins in the upcoming tournaments, the team gains more recognition for the game in Thailand and some loyal fans from all parts.