"When the senior players also guide youngsters, talk to them, discuss cricket with them, they go to the next level." Pravin Amre

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PARN POSHYANONDA: THAILAND’S FIRST CRICKETER

Puttivat Poshyanonda in 2008 and 1967

Puttivat 'Parn' Poshyanonda, 54, is a legend in Thai cricket. The first cricketer of Thai descent to play cricket in Bangkok, he created the Thai Cricket Club in 1983 to represent the cricket of Thais, while also playing football and rugby for Thailand.

His has been a colourful life. Since retirement from business he has been instrumental in creating conditions for quality cricket in Thailand – for Thais and visitors. He is a certified Level IV curator and Level I coach. He carries his eminence lightly. He has sacrificed much for cricket, including all his teeth, but his passion for the game has literally sown the seeds for future generations of Thai cricketers.

He spoke to us in his adopted home town of Chiang Mai, in an accent that swung from plummiest English to lilting Thai as befit the varying topics under discussion.

"I am very happy and proud when I see Thai boys wear the shirt of Thailand playing cricket."

Batting at Eastbourne

How did you get introduced to cricket?

It wasn’t an introduction, I was forced to play it, and rugby. I was sent to a boarding school in England, St. Andrews in Eastbourne when I was 11 and there all boys had to play sport, no question.

Had you played cricket before?

Never even heard of it.

What made you go to England?

I was 11 and I was actually, how shall I say, asked to leave my Bangkok school. I had a cousin in this school in Sussex and he said what a great school it was and so my father sent me there even though I knew no English apart from ‘yes’, ‘thank you’, ‘no’.

How did you get by in boarding school at the beginning?

I just pointed at things and used my hands. The rest of the boys were very friendly and I got through the first winter and the cold and the snow and the weekly baths all together and the tidemarks on the bath-tubs and the food.

St. Andrew’s, 1967 (Parn is standing second from the left)

What did you enjoy about cricket?

I liked rugby at the beginning and cricket later in the summer and from being an absolute beginner at the age of 11 because there was no sport in my Thailand school, in my final year in 1972 I was captain of St. Andrew’s in both sports. Cricket was just nice, very social, very friendly, a good game.

No bowler in the swinging Sixties

What was the cricket scene in Thailand in those days?

The Royal Bangkok Sports Club had cricket played by all the foreigners who’d be here for a couple of years but there were no Thais playing. The foreigners never believed that Thais could play cricket. They didn’t trust us to play cricket. Yes, the foreigners still didn’t think Thais were the right kind to play cricket, Indians, Pakistanis were OK, Commonwealth countries but not Thais.

But there were a number of us, me, my cousin, my younger brother and others who’d been to school in England and Australia who could play and wanted to play.

So it was acceptable for a Thai to play cricket with the farangs abroad but not the farangs at home?

Same game, different people.

How much time were you devoting to cricket?

I was playing football and rugby for Thailand also at the time but it was too hot for rugby and the ground was too hard and then as football faded I was even more active in cricket. This was about the late 1970s.

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