Vintage Chappell shines for Warathais
CHIANG MAI : Former Australia star Trevor Chappell has been in sparkling form at the San Miguel Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes this year, top scoring for his team yesterday against a star-studded young side from Bangladesh, where Chappell once coached the national team. Chappell scored 32 retired for his Moonshine Warathais team, who went down fighting after a close match with Bangladesh Cricketeers.
''I've been playing quite well this year, getting a few runs for a change,'' said Chappell. ''Our team had a narrow loss to the Cricketeers, who are a very good side. I think the best side here is the Gloucestershire Gipsies. The Cricketeers will give them a run for their money, but I think the English team will be too good.''
Chappell's team, the Moonshine Warathais, just missed getting into the Cup division after their narrow loss to the Cricketeers and will contest the second-tier Shield division, where they could be strong contenders.
Another well known sportsman cheering for the Gipsies is Roger Federer, the world's No 1 tennis player. Federer, a big cricket fan thanks to his South African-born mother, sent an e-mail to the Sixes website on Tuesday urging on his friends in the Gipsies, and telling them he is watching them live.
The onfield action at the Chiang Mai Sixes is being broadcast live over the internet with both video footage and the ground commentary available on the website, www.chiangmaisixes.com.
Apart from the Cricketeers and the Gloucestershire Gipsies, the other teams in contention for the top flight Cup division are almost all English, with the Surrey Vagrants and the Surrey Avos looking good.
Another two teams which could challenge the English sides are the Mighty Spires. a combined Australian-English side and the Perth Postals, a talented bunch of Western Australians who are regulars in Chiang Mai.
Yesterday saw the final matches in the round robin section of the tournament, which is used to decide which division the teams will contest Cup, Shield, Bowl and Plate.
Apart from the men's competition, there are also women's and junior divisions being contested. One of the biggest upsets in the women's competition saw a team of teenage Thai girls defeat experienced women's team and reigning champions CM Chassies on Tuesday.
The team of young girls, playing under the name the Thai Angels, are all locals who have learned to play in the Chiang Mai area, where junior cricket is very strong. A junior girls team from Phetchabun is also playing this year, and doing very well.
The junior boys and women's competition is being played on a pitch adjacent to the main ground and the standard of play has been very high this year. There is also a team of young Thai players in the main men's tournament for the second year running. The Thai Thevada side have made it into the Bowl division this year, and many have commented on how well they have been playing against the more experienced and older club sides from around the world.
With cricket being included in the sports contested at the 2010 Asian Games, promoting junior cricket in Thailand is essential.
All proceeds from the Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes go towards promoting the game at the junior level in Thailand.
The action continues daily from 8.30am until dusk with the finals to be contested on Saturday. Entry to the 110-year-old Chiengmai Gymkhana Club grounds in the heart of the northern capital is free and a variety of food and drinks are available. For more information, check out www.chiangmaisixes.com.