Korean Cricket Association (KCA)
What comes to mind when you first hear the word Cricket? Let me guess… India? Sachin? Well, get ready to add one more term to that because there is a cricket assocation in Korea as well! Although lesser known, the association has managed to make a mark in South Korea. Read on to find out more about the Korean Cricket Association!
The Evolution of Korean Cricket Association (KCA)
Till a decade ago, Cricket was an unknown sport in South Korea and it remains unfamiliar for many in the country. What cricket is for South Asian countries, baseball and football is for South Korea. But over the past three decades it has been slowly making inroads here largely due to South Asian immigrants who have worked tirelessly to create space for their community to play the game here.
What is KCA ?
Korean Cricket Association (KCA) is the official governing body of cricket in South Korea. It operates Korean National Team and Korean Women’s National Team. It’s current headquarters is located in Seoul, South Korea. KCA is South Korea’s representative at the International Cricket Council and is an association member and has been a member of that body since 2001, initially as an affiliate member. It is also a member of East Asia Pacific Cricket Council .
History of Cricket in South Korea
Cricket was introduced to Korea in 1980s by foreigners who lived in Korea and played in the domestic league competition which was set up in the early 1990s. Their first international appearance to date was in the ICC EAP 8s Tournament in Perth in 2002.
The next major leap forward in Korean Cricket was ICC Pepsi Global Development Funding in 2007. This funding helped the KCA to produce more opportunities to develop local competitions and the National Korean Team players by giving them the opportunity to travel and compete more regularly in competition with generous donation from Incheon City Council.
Role of Sungkyunkwan University in developing cricket in South Korea
Sungkyunkwan University played an integral role in providing the facilities for cricket on their campus and a deal was brokered by the head of the Physical Education Department with the expats to teach the university students cricket as an elective instead of more popular sports in korea like baseball and football.
The development and interest grew rapidly and Korean Team entered in the 2011 Pepsi ICC EAP Division 2 Cricket Trophy in Samoa in which they gained 5th position and showed a great deal of potential for the future development of Cricket in the country.
In 2013 Arirang TV broadcasted a documentary Bowling For Gold in their programme Arirang Prime on the Korean Natural Cricket Team. The documentary highlighted their struggle to put together a national cricket team without any support from the government agencies and also how the team toured in India as part of their preparations including playing against youth teams and training from Indian Coaches. During their stay they also watched an IPL match at Mohali Stadium and met some of the players such as Adam Gilchrist.
You can watch the documentary here.
Current Situation of the Team
Currently both The Korean National Men team and The Korean National Women team are under the supervision of Nasir Khan who is the vice chairman of KCA and coach of both the teams too. Khan is among the few people to have witnessed the evolution of cricket in South Korea since 1993.
Back in the days they didn’t even have a suitable ground to play cricket but now with the corporation of the Incheon City Council they got Yeonhui Cricket Ground, which is the only cricket ground in the country.
Since then they went to many competitions and faced both winning as well as losing and showed their potential to the world.
According to Mr. Nasir Khan , both the national men’s and women’s cricket teams were dissolved this year due to lack of adequate funding. The last time the National Cricket Team represented South Korea internationally was in 2018, with plans to participate in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2020 in India but that got postponed due to COVID19. But for now South Asian immigrants are keeping cricket alive in South Korea along with some Koreans who are interested in the game as well.
Now how about listening to the experience of a South Korean cricket player who came to India in hope to follow his dream of becoming a cricketer. He didn’t even know the language hindi or english he only knew the language of cricket and that’s how, Park Taekwan came here in India and impressed many people with his amazing skills. He was interviewed by KPOP HIGH INDIA, let’s take a look at the amazing interview –
Now, this is an interesting bit about similarity between two countries, isn’t it?