The undying passion for the game and the opportunity to showcase their talent on the world stage can make ordinary people do extraordinary things in life. Sport, especially cricket, has a way of producing inspiring tales of success.
There are plenty of instances revolving around teams or players starting their journeys from rock bottom before attaining the desired results due to their sheer hard work and never-say-die attitude.
In this regard, cricket has produced some memorable moments for fans around the globe to stand up and applaud the efforts of players who defy odds and perform for their national sides.
The rise of one such cricket team in the recent past has been nothing short of inspirational. With hope in their eyes and determination to take on the best teams in the world, the Thailand Women's Cricket team embarked on their journey to create history down under in the Women's T20 World Cup.
Thailand is known to be a land of smiles, and the Thai women's cricket team certainly lived up to that as they imbibed the Thai flavour all across Australia to ensure that people enjoyed watching the sport and the Thai team in action.
The rise of Natthakan Chantam in the Thailand women's cricket team
For a team making an appearance for the very first time at the world event, not a lot was expected out of them in terms of performances. However, the Thailand women's cricket team surprised one and all by putting up a stellar show in their last group-stage match against Pakistan.
After electing to bat first in that game, Thailand posted a mammoth total of 150 runs in their allotted quota of 20 overs, largely due to a solid opening partnership of 93 runs between Natthakan Chantam and Nattaya Boochatham.
Although the game was eventually washed out due to persistent showers, the world witnessed a star in the making. Natthakan Chantam smashed the bowlers all around the park to become the first player from Thailand to score a half-century in a global tournament.
The right-handed opening batter made her debut for Thailand on 3rd June 2018 against the same opposition in the Asia Cup held in Malaysia. Her consistent performances in the past couple of seasons have been one of the defining factors in Thailand's stellar growth in the world cricket arena.
She was also picked to be a part of the Women's Global Development Squad for a tour of Australia, with the first set of matches to be played against the teams competing in the Women's Big Bash League.
Just before the World Cup, Natthakan Chantam spent most of her time honing her skills in Pune under the watchful eyes of Harshal Pathak. The enormous hours spent in the nets along with plenty of match simulations proved to be beneficial as the 24-year-old ended as the highest run-scorer for her team with 103 runs in four matches.
Her recent exploits with the bat have enabled her to become the first player from Thailand to be a part of the Women's T20 Challenge held in the UAE. She is all set to ply her trade for the Trailblazers in the latest edition of the T20 cricket tournament.
In a team filled with international players and years of collective experience at the highest level, the tournament will provide an ideal opportunity for the talented Chantam to learn from the best players in the game and benefit immensely from it.
As Natthakan Chantham takes the field for the very first time in this much-anticipated league, it will script a new chapter in the history of the Thailand Cricket team.
Her journey from playing local cricket to the Women's IPL is an inspiration to many young kids not only back home but also across the globe to take up the sport and follow their passion.