Chiang Mai Sixes promotes Thai youth cricket

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Thailand’s women’s national cricket team celebrates gold medal winning success at the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. (Photo/Thailand Cricket Association)
Thailand’s women’s national cricket team celebrates gold medal winning success at the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. (Photo/Thailand Cricket Association)

The Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes is one of the world’s most popular and long-running amateur cricket tournaments.  The first edition was held in 1988 when Kowloon CC from Hong Kong won the Cup, and this year the Sixes held its 30th consecutive event.

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Darjeeling from Dubai, the Drifters from England and Wombats from Australia, are the three teams who have appeared in every tournament, and they have already booked their places for 2018, when the next edition will be held from 1-7 April at the historic Chieng Mai Gymkhana Club and feature 36 teams from up to 15 countries.

The Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes and Sawasdee Cricket have been responsible for discovering and nurturing many young cricketing talents in Thailand.
The Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes and Sawasdee Cricket have been responsible for discovering and nurturing many young cricketing talents in Thailand.

Five different competitions are held for men’s teams so players of all abilities get the chance to take part in enjoyable but competitive cricket at their own level, and there is also a ladies competition which has been an integral part of the tournament for many years.  Over the years famous cricketers have played in the event, including Mike Gatting and Dennis Lillee.

But the Chiang Mai Sixes is much more than just about cricket as the event has a commitment to promote junior cricket in Thailand and to support young Thai cricketers in every way it can.  The event has been responsible for raising millions of baht for junior cricket over the years, helping a generation of Thai children enjoy playing the sport and make a good start in life.

Ever since 2000 the Sixes has staged a competition for local school children so that young Thai boys and girls from many different backgrounds can join together and play Sawasdee Cricket with a soft ball.  The Chiang Mai Schools Cricket Alliance was formed to take coaching into schools in Thailand, and facilities have been built so that cricket can be taught throughout the year.

Off the field, funds have been established with the support of the Sixes to tend to the needs of young Thai cricketers, so that they are both well looked after and have the opportunity to finish their education.

At one stage a complete hill tribe cricket team was assembled from various orphanages to live together in the same house.  They were well looked after and taken to school each day.  A number of these boys have continued to play the game to a high level and represented Thailand in the recent Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.  It was a proud moment for all involved when they brought their bronze medals back and returned to complete their college studies.

The Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes isn’t just about cricket.  It’s a way of life, both enjoyable and fulfilling.