We arrive at the Bupa National Cricket Centre (NCC) before 8 o’clock this morning. The NCC overlooks the picturesque Allan Border Oval, where we will play Bangladesh in our first official T20 World Cup warm-up match tomorrow. The facilities are world-class.

The sun is shining bright and the covers are off. The prospects of a game look good.

But first things first. Today is all about signing bats, playing ‘crictionary,’ and being interviewed by ICC TV. ‘Crictionary’ is a real highlight. Sornnarin, Chanida, and Ratanaporn describe cricket-related terms by drawing them on a whiteboard. The others have to guess what they are. The drawings mainly consist of ovals with cricket pitches in them with arrows pointing at particular fielding positions or spin directions. Everyone is laughing.

Alland Border Field
Allan Border Oval

We see India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. A ‘how are you’, a hug or two at the sight of familiar faces. Perhaps a sign of camaraderie and mutual respect. A small crowd gathers as the Australians emerge. This is starting to feel like the T20 Women’s World Cup.

Coach Harshal Pathak is quietly confident, as he was before the ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers 2019 in Scotland. “We have prepared well,” he says.

Harshal Pathak Thailand coach being interviewed
Head Coach Harshal Pathak speaks to the ICC about his journey with the team, their remarkable self-belief, and their prospects.

We get a short burst of heavy rain, which drenches the outfield. It could be a race against time to get the oval ready for a 10 AM start. But we are hopeful. Sornnarin tells me she cannot wait to get out on the field. The excitement is palpable.

After a light lunch of sandwiches and fruit, we are off to the Gabba for an indoor net session. Queensland is playing Tasmania out in the middle in a Sheffield Shield fixture. We know because there are TVs in the dressing rooms. The facilities are, again, world-class.

Chanida Sutthiruang bowling in the NCC nets
ICC Women’s Emerging Player of the Year and Emerging Cricket Ambassador starts her run up at the Gabba indoor nets.

Everyone is focused and sharp. Chanida is steaming in and swinging the ball miles. Nannapat is timing the ball sweetly. One or two players have minor niggles, but nothing serious.

Thailand batters sharing a lighter moment during training
Vice-Captain Nattaya Boochatham (left) and Emerging Cricket Ambassador Nattakan Chantam (right) are the team’s opening pair. Despite the focus and desire to win, there is always room for a lighter moment.

Two hours and a team meeting later, the squad heads back to the hotel for an early dinner and bed.

Tomorrow’s game against Bangladesh is important for so many reasons. It will give us a chance to shake off any cobwebs from days of indoor training, and calm any nerves. It is also a chance to avenge a close loss to them in Patna.

Nishadh Rego is Thailand’s media manager for the duration of the T20 World Cup.

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