The Women’s squad with Raju

The Cricket Association of Thailand have found a new base for cricket activity. Following the establishment of a residential youth academy in Doi Saket on the outskirts of Chiang Mai in 2012, another one has been started at Rattanakosin Somphot School on the outskirts of Bangkok. 22 boys and 21 girls from across Thailand, between the ages of 13 and 17, the star performers at the National Youth Games, have been granted admission by the school. CAT offers them education, accommodation, food, dress and nominal allowance.

“It’s an excellent, well-structured set up by the school, whose Director (also a CAT Committee Member) Mr. Prapon Leesin is very supportive of cricket,” says ACC Development Officer for Thailand Venkatapathi Raju. Two of the school’s teachers are Level I coaches and are being assisted by two CAT Level II coaches. Cricket has become part of the school’s curriculum and the Cricket Association of Thailand has put up a 22-bed dormitory for the girls, a two-lane Astroturf net and an Astroturf wicket at the school. The school will also be hosting the regional qualifiers for the next National Youth Games later this year.

The U-16 boys at Rattanakosin with Venkatapathi Raju flanked by Director Leesin and CAT Development Officer Shan Kader

The national women’s team continue to be supported by the Sports Authority of Thailand, as they prepare for the Asian Games. One of the Sports Authority’s fitness advisors, an Australian, is also helping national coach Vidyut Jaisimha condition the team, who are on the field in one way or another six days a week. Five of them go off to the Andhra Pradesh Cricket Academy in Guntur, a five-hour drive from Hyderabad, at the start of August before being joined by the rest of the squad three weeks later when they play in a quadrangular with Andhra, Chennai and South Central Railway. “The girls are going to be exposed to a cricket culture and environment which can only help them in their quest for a medal at the Asian Games,” says Raju, “game sense is what will benefit them from now on, they know how to play.” The Sri Lanka Navy women’s team, featuring nine national team players, recently completed a tour of Thailand where they played three 40-over matches against the Thai women.

Since his last assessment in 2013 Raju has “found that the skills and fitness level of the U-16s and women have gone up due to regular training. It is also important to note that both the teams are made up of native cricketers which is an encouraging sign. The concept of selecting local cricketers and offering them a pathway will surely increase the playing numbers, improve the skills and most importantly create a pipeline for the future.”

Thailand Cricket Profile
Cricket Association of Thailand

Filed July 25th, 2014