Arguably the most successful cricket season in Korea was concluded on Sunday 11th June, 2000 with a first class display of cricket by the Pakistan Eagles upsetting the much favoured Sri Lankan Lions.
In their maiden season as an official KCA team the Sri Lankan Lions came through the season rounds with only one defeat, which coincidentally was also at the hands of the Pakistian Eagles. The consistently high performance of the Sri Lankan batsmen, particularly Captain Perara & Askanka, saw this team take a commanding position in every match. The pace bowling of Nimal & Indika, whose accuracy had improved significantly, allowed the team to keep their opposition to a very minimal score. They cruised through the first nine rounds only being challenged once, by the Korean Crusaders, until the faced the Pakistan Eagles in their last two matches.
The final was played in a very professional style under the watchful eye of ICC coaching representatives Mr Kaushik Patel and Craig Murray. Kaushik & Craig were visiting the KCA to impart level one coaching skills to a selected number of players who will be then coaching at our grass roots and Senior levels.
The Pakistan Eagles have been the most solid team for the past two years, winning three of the last three season's tournaments. Under the watchful and fatherly eye of team Captain Sikander Mirza this team knows how to perform under the pressure of big matches.
While suffering defeats to India and Sri Lanka during the season's rounds they were still able to accumulate the highest run rate with strong batting performances from Idris, Tahir (who scored two centuries in the season including one in the final) & Mujtaba. However, the Telstra Cup final was won by the bowlers, Nazir, Zahid & Taimur. Their consistent accuracy and minimal sundries prevented Sri Lanka form building and run rate. They will again be a force to be reckoned with in the Fall 2000 season.
Overall the Spring 2000 season was the most competitive season in the history of Korean Cricket and the level of cricket has moved up a few notches both in standard of play and development of the Korean Grass Roots program. For the first time ever the KCA Telstra Cup competition fielded a Korean based development side called the Korean Crusaders. The team worked hard in developing the Korean Seniors players through persistent and consistent training up of their newly acquired skills. These efforts paid hansome dividends for the team as the Korean Crusaders notched up two very convincing wins over the Indian Tigers and the Commonwealth Cavaliers.
Lead by Kim, Hak Su the Korean Crusaders consisted of four Korean Nationals and three Korean Australians and ably assisted by Shah, Farhan & Tony James as player/coaches. The highlight of this year is without a doubt the exception fielding skills of the Koreans. Coming from baseball backgrounds their throwing abilities, along with Mr Kim's wicket-keeping prowess has shown all other competitor teams that there is future potential in this team. It is now envisaged that the KCA will field a full Korean Team in the Fall of 2001. As for an International team, this could be sooner then we think.
The most disappointing performance this season came from the Indian Tigers who had, by far, the most experience and talent of all the KCA teams. With both a strong batting and bowling line up they had the capability of beating any team in the competition. Unfortunately however the performance of the Indian bowlers such as Shammi & Sanjay failed to live up to their reputations. To add salt to the wound their captain Syed Agha suffered a tragic fielding injury in the play off for third position and broke his arm in two places. There is going to have to be some serious rebuilding of the team over the off-season if they are to be in contention for the Fall 2000 Season.
Definitely the most improved award for the season would have to go to the Commonwealth Cavaliers who, under the captaincy of Garry Shadlow, rebuilt the team into a formidable force. The mid-season inclusion of some hot notch Seoul International Boys saw the much needed bowling line up improve with the likes of Spragg, Canterford & Logan. Wotton continued to provide the team with solid opening stances and their run rates were always generally competitive. Unfortunately in many matches they continued to snatch defeat from the claws of victory but allowing far too many sundries to some wayward bowling and poor fielding. This will need to be corrected before the fall season.
The next event on the Korean Cricket Associations Calendar is the 'Grand Havana Sixes' to be held at the Seobingo-Dong Elementary school on Sunday 25th June.
For more details please check out the website at www.koreacricket.com
The KCA's Fall 2000 season is due to commence late August. Please refer to the website for more details.