The New Millennium Fall Season officially got under way on August 26 at Seobinggo-dong Cricket Ground in Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
Once again five teams will pitch battle - Spring champions Pakistan Eagles, runners up Sri Lankan Lions, Korean Crusaders, Indian Tigers and the Commonwealth Cavaliers. The competition will feature a round robin section where each team will play their four opponents twice, followed by the Finals on November 12 - just before the first snow storms.
The Fall season will also see the departure of the Korea Cricket Association's chairman, John Bourke, to more challenging climes and times. John has been a tremendous administrator in his time at the helm. Huge strides have been made in the areas of grass-roots and schools development, practice and match facilities, and general promotion of the game.
A highlight was his organisation of An Evening With Allan Border (and the ICC's Andrew Eade), earlier this year, which garnered great publicity and will be forever remembered. John, however, would most likely rather be remembered as a cricketer of substance during his time in Korea. Unfortunately we can find no statistical evidence to support any such claim.
Conversely his replacement as chairman, Andrew Dunn of Australia and the Commonwealth, can play a bit but his delegation skills, superb in business but untried within a one man committee concept, could bring him unstuck.
PAKISTAN EAGLES - champions in the last three Cup competitions. Always well led by skipper Sikander Mirza, they feature excellent bowling talent inNazir, Zahid and Taimur. Tahir, with two centuries in the Spring Cup, will once again provide the bulk of the runs. Odds: 2/1.
SRI LANKAN LIONS - suffered only one loss in Spring's round robin and then the Final - both times to Pakistan. This side, captained by PKJ Perera and featuring Nimil, Indika and Askanka, really impressed and with the addition of Tony James, a seasoned all-rounder, should further close the gap on Pakistan. Odds: EVENS.
KOREAN CRUSADERS - under the watchful eye of Kim, Hak-su, this combination of Korean nationals - Kim Sang-Yeon, Do Hun-Lee, Park Sung-Hee, Kim Dal-Soo - and Korean-Australian expats - Jim Lim, Tae Cho, Michael Ku - should build on their inaugural tally of two wins. Odds: 8/1.
INDIAN TIGERS - a fall off in Spring form compared to previous years will probably be rectified. The talent is there with the likes of skipper Syed Agha, Shammi, Sanjay and the veteran Kenny, but it will remain to be seen whether any new blood and depth has been added in the off season. Odds: 5/1.
COMMONWEALTH CRUSADERS - Skipper Gary Shadlow has to be pulling his hair out. Not only is Bourke leaving but he has also lost his ace opening batsman. And there are rumours HE's leaving! Spragg, Canterford, Logan and Chairman Dunn are going to have to step up to the plate. Too few Kiwis. Odds: 10/1.
To follow the season log onto www.koreacricket.com.