Women's T20 Challenge: Thailand cricketer Natthakan Chantham under spotlight

The 24-year-old, who is nicknamed Jeans, proved her mettle by scoring her country’s first Women’s T20 World Cup half-century in March against Pakistan.

Chantham has been ‘lucky to have trained’ since May despite the coronavirus threat.   -  TWITTER/ @NatthakanJeans

A couple of years ago, when Natthakan Chantham broke into Thailand’s women’s cricket team, it was a dream come true for the youngster.

The 24-year-old, who is nicknamed Jeans, took her time to settle down at the international stage and gradually proved her mettle by scoring her country’s first Women’s T20 World Cup half-century in March this year, against Pakistan.

And on Sunday, she added another feather to her cap, becoming the first Thai cricketer to feature in the Women’s T20 Challenge - to be played in the United Arab Emirates from November 4.

In the tournament, she will be featuring for the Trailblazers and will get to share the dressing room with some of the icons of world cricket - captain Smriti Mandhana, Jhulan Goswami, England ace Sophie Ecclestone and West Indies’ Deandra Dottin.

It is certainly a big opportunity for her and the fact that she will be playing with some of the best in the business, is yet to sink in. “I am still quite shocked and excited to be selected for such a high profile tournament. We haven't had a chance to play any competitive cricket since the T20 World Cup, so I am really excited for this opportunity,” Chantham told Sportstar.

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In her two-year international career, she has played in 38 T20Is - but most of them have been against Associate Nations. “Being selected for the IPL (Women’s Challenge) is a major milestone for me as a professional cricketer. Hopefully my achievement can inspire more Thai girls and even more girls in our region,” she said.

In the past, she has been to India - first for a training session in Pune, followed by a series against India A teams. But now that the tournament will be held overseas, inside a bio-bubble, it is going to be a whole new challenge.

“Hopefully, I can put in a solid performance if and when the opportunity is handed to me,” she said. “I am really excited to be playing and training alongside the best players in the world and I am sure it will be a great experience for me,” said the young gun.

While most cricketers around the round had to miss training sessions to the coronavirus pandemic, Chantham has been ‘lucky to have trained’ since May.

“I have been back in training since May. I have a set fitness schedule and I have been working mostly on improving and fine tuning my skills. It has been raining quite a bit in Thailand, so it has been a good chance to really focus on certain skills and areas of my game indoors,” she said.

She will be joining her new team-mates over the next few days and Chantham is looking forward to a memorable campaign.

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