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Batting for Korea: Fountain moulds Asian Games hosts for T20 clashes

Korea-Cricket-coach-Julien-Fountain_615x428Experienced cricket coach JULIEN FOUNTAIN has embraced the challenge of preparing his inexperienced Korea players for their hole as hosts of the Asian Games Twenty20 competition.

 

Interview by SportAsia

 

What did you know about cricket in Korea before you arrived?

Absolutely nothing prior to applying for the position.

 

How did you get involved with Korean cricket in the first place?

I saw the post advertised on the ICC website, then happened to be in Sri Lanka when the Korea team was on a training tour in Colombo. I met them, watched them play a game or two and decided I wanted to get involved then and there.

 

Can you outline the set up domestic cricket in Korea?

There is no real domestic tournament here in Korea. There is a social cricket league with around a dozen teams. However, it’s entirely expatriate cricket with teams made up of players from strong cricket-playing countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

 

Korea-cricket-Team-with-coach-Julien-Fountain_615x400What was the playing standard of the national team you inherited and where would you rank them now?

When I inherited them they were about the standard of a UK city club’s 3rd or 4th Xl. Now, with the benefit of my experience from having worked with teams such as Pakistan, West Indies, Bangladesh and England, they are approaching a mid-range Associate-type standard. Not bad since some of the players have only been playing cricket for 12 months.

 

What type of contracts are the players on? Do they hold ‘daytime jobs’?

Unlike any other ICC Affiliate nation, and even most ICC Associate nations, at this moment Korea Cricket has the entire squad on full-time contracts, under my control as head coach.

 

Who are your star players?

Three players to watch out for during the Asian Games are Choi Ji-won, a medium-pace all-rounder; Cho Sung-hun, an opening batsman and ‘gun’ fielder; and Park Tae-kwan, a left-arm fast bowler. These players would definitely not look out of place in any UK Premier League 1st Xl.

 

Korea-Cricket-Team-dressed-up-with-coach-Julien-Fountain_615x269What are your hopes for the Asian Games?

If we play to our maximum potential, there is no reason that we could not make it out of our group (which also features China and Malaysia), and have to play against an ICC Associate team like Hong Kong.

 

What are the long-term goals of the KCA?

At this point the entire focus is on the Asian Games. Anything beyond will depend upon our success or failure.

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