Was cricket amongst Thais growing?

A little bit, basically it was Thais who picked up the game at school outside. There was a family of three Thai brothers with royal blood who were good players so I created another team just for us, the Thai Cricket Club which was created in 1983. It took a lot of work in getting eleven players out on the field but everyone knew it was important and we played a fair number of matches.

Who did you play against?

The RBSC and other foreigners in the beginning, then Interport matches against Hong Kong, Penang, Singapore. They were quite competitive and quite social.

What were your ambitions for the Thai Cricket Club which you created in 1983?

After showing everyone that Thais could play ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it who played for us we accepted as a Thai because he had a Thai wife and spoke Thai) it was just to enjoy ourselves, make friends and play cricket. We’d aim to play on the RBSC grounds during race-days so that the racing crowd of about 1000 could see the cricket. The MCC knew about the excellent RBSC and came to play in the early 1980s and they were pleasantly surprised by the size of the crowd. All this ACC, ICC cricket was unknown. Cricket was just social.

Thai C.C. in Penang, (Parn is standing third from the left, Mohideen Kader is in the centre of the back row)

When did cricket in Thailand move outside Bangkok?

The Chiang Mai Gymkhana hadn’t had cricket since 1921 but in 1992 they had cricket again. It was a big fixture and all the best cricketers in Thailand played, flying up from Bangkok. It was also the game I lost my teeth. I was keeping wicket and didn’t sight the ball out of the trees and was hit in the face. I’d come up from Bangkok that morning and I hadn’t packed a toothbrush, so had asked my wife at the start of the match to kindly go and get one for later. When she came back, waving the toothbrush, it was too late.

When did Thai youngsters first start playing cricket?

In 2000 Kader and Ravi Sehgal contacted me and asked me to start cricket for the youngsters in Chiang Mai. I had moved here after finishing my business and thanks to the Gymkhana there was some possibility of activity. The foreigners in Chiang Mai had tried some things to get the local children interested but nothing had really worked.  We came up with something called Sawadee Cricket, ‘Hello Cricket’. It is like Kwikcricket in Australia but everything is done in Thai.

We started with 11-year olds and of that first batch five have gone on to play for Thailand.

How does that make you feel?

Very very happy. I am very happy and proud when I see Thai boys wear the shirt of Thailand playing cricket. Sometimes some of those even talk to me! No, really, they’re glad to have me around and I’m glad to see them. Maybe 100 or so boys have come through our Sawadee cricket here in Chiang Mai in the past eight years, all local Thais and about ten have gone on to play for Thailand. It’s good.

What about the girls?

I haven’t worked with them but a good bunch have been trained by Shan Kader this year and the last and I see that there is some genuine talent there. They are all Thai.

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