Thailand head coach Harshal Pathak feels that his side’s semi-final finish in the ongoing Women’s Asia Cup 2022 will inspire the next generation of cricketers in the country and raise awareness about the sport as well.
With a semis finish in this tournament, Thailand is excited about its cricket future.
After the match, both the teams posed for group pictures and some Thailand players sought India players for selfies. Restricting a formidable Indian batting line-up to 148/6 and batting out 20 overs against Women in Blue reflected the team’s progress.
Pathak also feels that this performance by the 12th-ranked T20I team worldwide is a big deal. “There will be more awareness among the public after the team does well.
If you think about the focus group of new cricketers, obviously they will be inspired.
They are looking up to someone like [Naruemol] Chaiwai, Natthakan [Chantham] and Chanida [Sutthiruang],” ESPNCricinfo quoted Harshal as saying after the match. The coach said that he will speak to his team about this performance after a break and how they can grow further. “We will really evaluate what we have done well, what we want to achieve and how we are going to go about it. We have faced a lot of high-quality bowlers in different situations. We have to understand how we can play dominating cricket,” he added.
After two crushing defeats against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Thailand stunned Pakistan by four wickets, followed it by wins over UAE and Malaysia.
It put them above Bangladesh in the points tally. After Bangladesh lost to Sri Lanka and their last game against UAE was washed out, the defending champions were eliminated from the tournament and Thailand entered the semis despite losing to India in their final league match.
Pathak is happy with the fight his team has shown. “I expected a little more at the start of the tournament. I was targeting going to the final. But I am very happy with the way the team bounced back after the two [early] losses. They have shown character. Adjusted and adapted well,” he said.
“We had better intent today compared to the first game against India. We got back into the game in the last ten overs with the ball. We took control after they got off to a good start. The bowlers did well, and [the captain] put some really good field settings. We had very good plans today,” he added.
He said that his coaching method has also changed as per the demands of the team and he does not need to go into details while explaining things to the players. “Cricket is not the main game in Thailand.
In India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, cricket is a religion. You pick up the game by watching around you, and the knowledge base keeps growing as you go through the system. Coaches need to tell the players about plans or fine-tune the mindset,” he said.
“For a developing [cricket] country like Thailand, a coach has to go quite deep to explain things. At the start of my stint with Thailand, I used to go into a lot of details. Now I have confidence that they can do a lot of things on their own.
Now we have to take it to the next level,” he said. Put to bat first by Thailand, India put up 148/6 on the board in their 20 overs. Shafali Verma (42) and captain Harmanpreet (36) played some valuable knocks for India. Jemimah Rodrigues (27) and Harmanpreet Kaur put up a crucial 42-run stand for the third wicket.
Sornnarin Tippoch was the pick of the bowlers for Thailand, taking 3/24. Nattaya Boochatham, Phannita Maya and Thipatcha Putthawong took one wicket each. India bowlers put up good performance and did not gave allow Thailand batters to settle. Skipper Naruemol Chaiwai and Nattaya Boochatham played decent knocks of 21 runs each, but it was not enough in the wake of lethal spells from Deepti Sharma (3/7) and Rajeshwari Gayakwad (2/10). Renuka Singh, Sneh Rana, Shafali Verma took one wicket each. Shafali Verma won the ‘Player of the Match’ award for her all-round performance as she scored 42 runs and took a wicket, playing a vital role in taking her team to the final