The development of cricket in Thailand has taken a huge step forward with its inclusion in the Thailand Youth Games (Makhamwan Games). Cricket joins the 30 other sporting disciplines in the March 2010 edition of the games in Vithyanukulnaree, in Petchabun province in north Thailand.

Thai national cricketers bring cricket to schoolchildren

Petchabun also represents a new territory for cricket’s growth in Thailand. With Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Chonburi, Lopburi, and Phuket having established cricket bases, Petchabun will similarly do so as it is mandatory for the host province to field a team for all of the disciplines in the Youth Games.

Kader (extreme right) with Thailand’s 2009 ACC Women’s T20 Finalists

Thailand National Coach and CAT Chief Executive Mohideen Kader said, “CAT offered its help to the Sports Authority of Thailand by proposing to prepare the pitches and provide the officials for the event. This only helped us in a way as the Chairman of the Organising Committee made us an example and has asked the other 30 sports to follow suit.”

New nets facilities being laid out in Khoa Yai, near Bangkok

With more provinces sure to take up the sport, the number of established grounds and players will also increase. Thailand has 75 provinces in all. The Thailand Youth Games will also help increase the number of playing facilities, as new grounds are established each time the games go to a new province.

“With us knowing two years in advance of the venues, we need to plan our work properly. Uttaradit are the hosts in 2011 and since there’s no cricket there, we will need to post a Thai coach to start the development. With our inclusion into the Thailand Youth Games, the sport will now get more local media coverage as well. This has been something we’ve been hoping for for a long time,” added Mr. Kader.

The Makhamwan Games started in 1985 with only seven sports and 1500 athletes. 25 years on, the number of participants has increased tenfold. These Games require all participants to be Thai nationals. CAT have also been integral in cricket’s inclusion in the ASEAN University Games and now with the Thailand Youth Games riding the cricket train, the future of cricket in Thailand has never looked stronger.

Related: Thailand Country Profile

Filed Sep 4th, 2009