The 33rd Chiang Mai International Cricket Sixes returns this weekend, for the first time since 2019 with participants looking to get back into the swing of things and catch up with friends old and new on and off the pitch after an enforced sabbatical. Play starts on Sunday 2nd and concludes on Saturday 8th April.
Many old favourites return, to be joined for new teams for 2023, which has made predictions precarious for the organisers, who have dispensed with Player’s and Gentlemen’s sections for this year. Instead, an open round will take place for each side’s first three games,which will be followed by the teams being placed in five competitions to play for honours later in the week.
24 teams are competing in the men’s tournament, with four women’s sides also doing battle throughout the seven days of cricket, which will see players of all levels come up against those from many nations in what is a truly international festival.
Favourites in the men’s competition are the Thunders from Bangladesh who have lifted the Cup on several occasions under their previous NCL and Bushandarabanners. It is thought that new sides to Chiang Mai, Warriors of India and Islamabad Doosras flying the flag of Pakistan, will be looking to challenge, with Margate CC of Tasmania, the ever present Drifters from Australia and the experienced Divine Felons also pushing to compete in the premier tier.
The women’s competition will see Aussie outfit, Central Spirit being the team to beat, though it will be fascinating to see if the youngsters representing Lamphun Red Caps along with Chiang Mai’s Beaverettes and Chassies who are going to have to mount a challenge.
As ever, there are many recreational sides taking the pristine arena. Indeed, probably more than ever this year, as many sides return having committed in 2020 when the tournament was abandoned at a late stage. The Sixes Committee are grateful for the continued support and faith shown by those teams.
Will age have caught up with some of the players so that it is too difficult to predict who will be the pick of those outside the Cup? Will new signings and new teams make all the difference? The eager audiences at the ground and those watching the live stream on YouTube around the world don’t have long to find out.
As well as the cricket, there are the usual social functions, with all three main events taking place at the magnificent Chiengmai Gymkhana Club. The town will be abuzz for 8 to 10 days as hundreds of players and aficionados enjoy the atmosphere that the event brings in many of the tournament sponsors establishments.
Spectators are welcome to the ground, where plentiful food and beverages are available. Play starts around 9am each morning and admission is free.