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Global Game: Chantham ‘shocked and excited’ at T20 Challenge selection

By Emerging Cricket

Natthakan Chantham became the first Thai player to be selected in any form of international franchise cricket with the news that the opening batter was selected in the Trailblazers side for the Women’s T20 Challenge.

"I am really excited to be playing and training alongside the best players in the world," Chantham told Emerging Cricket after the news broke on Sunday. 

The right-hander’s 56 from 50 balls against Pakistan during the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year gained global acclaim, even causing famed commentator Ian Bishop to declare her as 'one of his new favourite players' during the match call. 

"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 World Cup, so I am really excited for this opportunity," said Chantham.

Known as ‘Jeans’ to her teammates, the 24-year-old made her debut for Thailand’s Under 19 team at the age of 12. She began her career as an all-rounder, but quickly developed to become one of Thailand’s most consistent batters. 

Thailand is the current world record holder for consecutive T20I victories with 17, after an eight-wicket win against the Netherlands at Deventer in August 2019 saw them move past Australia. 

Chantham leaves for the UAE on 21 October and the Women’s T20 Challenge begins on the 4 November 2020.

Lamichhane gives boost to Tribhuvan International Stadium groundstaff

Sandeep Lamichhane, currently in camp with the Delhi Capitals, has donated NRs 1 lakh (~US$857) to the ground staff of Nepal’s Tribhuvan International Stadium.

"Whatever I am today is because of the people of Nepal. I am indebted to those millions of hands that have selflessly continued to pray for me. This is just a small effort to do my bit. May my homeland and the people of Nepal continue to rise for good," he said as he retweeted a post from Raman Shiwakoti, who handed over the amount on Lamichhane's behalf.

Lamichhane's actions follow through on a promise made prior to setting off for the CPL.

Hong Kong launches Women’s Premier League

While the international calendar remains on ice, Hong Kong has been working hard to restart the game domestically, with a strong focus on women’s development.

Last week, the expanded women’s T20 league commenced, and this weekend will see the first of the experimental Women’s Premier League matches, a new competition featuring international players and the cream of Hong Kong’s domestic talent, and aimed at bridging the gap between the city’s female league and the national team.

On the 18th of October, the Bauhinia Stars (led by Kary Chan) and Jade Jets (captained by Pull To) will face off in a 35-over clash. The fixture will also be of interest to fans from the Philippines, with four-time T20I player Jennifer Alumbro selected for the Bauhinia Stars.

Currently living in Hong Kong, Alumbro shot to prominence as part of the SSC Divas team, which is comprised of Filipina domestic migrant workers.

On the men’s side, Sunday will also mark the return of the Premier League T20. Hong Kong’s top five clubs will face off in the city’s highest level of male competition. Owing to the ongoing pandemic, there will be no in-person spectators for the popular local event, though Cricket HK has ambitiously expanded its online coverage.

PNG partnership drives development push

The wheels of Papua New Guinea’s cricket scene continue to turn, with the board announcing a renewed sponsorship from a local vehicle distributor.

Highlighting how important community-level partnerships are to help grow the game, CPNG’s CEO – and former Australian Test player – Greg Campbell explained that the development programmes, a number of which have won ICC Development Awards, are run out of the vehicle company’s centres in various regional centres across the country.

From Sydney to Sierra Leone with love

In Sierra Leone, meanwhile, resources have flowed from benefactors a little further afield, with a Sydney club cricket stalwart collecting donations of kit and other equipment to assist the fledgling cricketers of the West African nation.

Mike Pawley, who played 11 Sheffield Shield matches as an allrounder for New South Wales in the early 1970s, now runs a chain of sporting goods stores and used his network to assemble a shipment of equipment for Kent Cricket Club in the capital Freetown.

It’s a longstanding relationship, with Pawley sending numerous shipments over the years, and with no shops in the country to sell cricket equipment, the donations are a lifeline for a resource-stretched cricket scene.

KCC’s development manager Musa Sam Ganda expressed the club’s thanks for Pawley’s continued assistance: “We are really inspired by his commitment to making a difference in this volatile period when it is extremely difficult to ship goods from Australia to any part of the world.”

Despite being 73rd on the men’s ICC T20I Rankings, there is hope for the future within Sierra Leone, with their youth side making waves at the 2018 ICC U19s Cricket World Cup Qualifier by shocking African powerhouse Kenya, as well as work starting on a new playing field (in collaboration with the University of Sierra Leone) this September.

Lalit Bhandari released from hospital

Seam bowler Lalit Bhandari has been released from the hospital in Kathmandu. His recovery has progressed well after he was seriously injured in a motorbike crash last September.

2020 East Asia Cup cancelled

Some disappointing news has come out of East Asia this week, with the 2020 edition of the East Asia Cup being cancelled due to the ongoing uncertainty of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In a joint statement, the participating nations - Japan, China, South Korea and Hong Kong - cited restrictions on international travel as the primary cause.

It’s another blow to the cricket-starved boards in the region, though the nations involved say they are exploring the possibility of men’s and women’s teams playing in 2021 to make up for lost time; since 2015 the yearly tournament has alternated between women’s and men’s events.

One possible silver lining is that the boards are now in discussion to make the change permanent and play both male and female tournaments yearly.

Fans of the game will be hoping for good news, with last year’s women’s event in South Korea producing several classic moments including a last-over hattrick from Hong Kong’s Kary Chan to seal their group match against the eventual champions China.

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