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Thailand’s Women – Pioneering Success

The profile of women’s cricket on a global scale has risen considerably over the last few years. We’ve seen increased coverage of the game on television characterized by the widespread broadcast of the recent World Cup in Australia. Sponsorship levels have gone up and many more countries are professionalizing their domestic set-ups. Regional bodies such as the European Cricket Council (ECC), the Africa Cricket Association (ACA), and the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) have also been pulling their weight and organizing more tournaments, both junior and senior for their region’s women. Many countries have been taking advantage of these developments, and one of these is Thailand.

The country has traditionally produced able, yet unspectacular men’s teams and never really challenged the top rung of ACC nations such as UAE, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, and Nepal in the men’s game. On the back of a 3rd place finish at the inaugural ACC U-19 Cup in 2008, and a runners-up finish (they lost in the finals by 4 runs to Hong Kong and beat Nepal, Singapore, Qatar, Bhutan, Iran on the way) at the ACC Women’s 20/20 Asian Games Qualifying Tournament, Thailand’s women are slowly developing a name for themselves.

An 100% ethnic Thai squad made up of former national baseball, basketball, and volleyball players, all natural athletes, a school cricket program for women in three provinces, and the recent introduction of cricket into the annual National (Makhamwan) Games, and the ASEAN University Games are all indications of a bright future for the country’s female cricketers. To top it all off, the girls have sealed qualification to the Asian Games Women’s Cricket Competition in Guangzhou next year where they will compete against four test-playing countries, 2 other qualifiers (Nepal, Hong Kong), and hosts China. This will be the country’s first cricketing soujourn at this level and it is hoped that this will generate interest for the sport amongst the general public, and ring in the sponsors. For this to have long term effects, the embarrassment of one-sided thrashings by the test nations needs to be avoided and to make sure this happens, the country will have to train extensively for the tournament, and expose itself to quality competition (in the form of series against Hong Kong, Bangladesh or other leading Associates such as PNG, and Ireland) on a regular basis

It is hoped the success of the women’s sides will rub onto the men sooner or later, and that they will start to produce cricketers capable of leading the country to the higher echelons of ACC competition, and into the World Cricket League in the near future. In wake of the women’s success on the regional stage, all that’s need is some clear strategic planning, and the development of an ethnic player base and appropriate domestic development and competition structures for the men to do the same. Thailand has the population, the facilities, and the government support to take Asian Cricket by storm.

PS: A recent profile on the Asian Cricket Council Website (http://www.asiancricket.org/h_1009_thaiwomen.cfm) documents their development and success in detail.

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Categories: Cricket Development
  1. Art
    October 21, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Just finished umpiring the Queensland U15 girls championship. Saw some amazing talent there. As for infrastructure etc, many words are spoken but most of the time little is achieved. I am in the middle of a complex infrastructure restructure in a nearby city. the biggest resistence comes from within local cricket. What a joke.

  2. October 21, 2009 at 4:06 am

    Art, can you elaborate on what type of resistance comes from where?

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