We leave the Pullman Hotel at 11 AM for an International Cricket Council (ICC) ‘Cricket For Good’ Clinic.
We are hosted at Campbelltown Memorial Oval, home of the East Torrens District Cricket Club. Sitting in the dressing rooms, we see club’s history plastered all over the walls. It is important to see that cricket culture is celebrated at the club level in a country like Australia. Success begins at the grassroots.
Speaking of the grassroots, Cricket for Good is all about kids. It has two purposes.
First, it is the “ICC’s global community outreach program aimed at leveraging the vast power and reach of cricket to positively impact the lives of children and families worldwide. Since 2015, the platform has been used to advocate for children in India and other countries where cricket is popular.” Second, the program aims to engage younger generations in the sport.
It is a goal that aligns with one of ours: to inspire future generations, both in Thailand and elsewhere, to take up the sport. In qualifying and participating in the ICC T20 World Cup we embody the idea that anything is possible if you choose to commit to something.
The session itself is an absolute blast. The children are very young – they’re Under 7s. They don’t fully understand whom they are interacting with, which means there are no inhibitions.
Our girls very quickly shed their ambitions, and soon we inundate the kids with high fives, hugs, and the odd tip.
It is also a good way to ease back onto the turf after more than a week training indoors.
We spend the afternoon training. Coach Harry uses the open wicket facilities, and the nets. Four girls from the South Australia Cricket Association (SACA) representative teams join us as net bowlers. One of them in particular bowls wheels. She is instructed to bowl the bouncer at will. She does. It is good practice.
Natthakan Chantham is timing the ball to perfection. One square drive off Chanida Sutthiruang in particular is exquisite. As is Nattaya Boochatham’s nonchalant flick for six over deep square off one of the SACA bowlers. The bowlers too get a solid three-hour work out and the energy is good.
For the record, I shake off the cobwebs for an arduous 3-over spell of left-arm spin (others would say ‘darts’). I reckon I get Natthakan caught at short-cover. She may disagree.
At four PM, we head back to the hotel. Coach Harshal leads a team meeting in the evening before bed-time.
We take on the WHITE FERNS (New Zealand) tomorrow. #EXCITED.