Prague Cricket Club (PCC) is the oldest and the most successful cricket club in the Czech Republic. Its main goal? To spread their love for cricket to as many people as possible.
“Once you start playing or watching cricket, you start loving the game. It is called ‘a gentleman’s game’. But I would disagree because anybody can love it,” says Shreetama Dey, the brand manager for Prague Cricket Club who volunteers for the club.
While the origins of cricket in this part of the world can be traced back to 1927, Prague Cricket Club was founded in 1997, after a group from commonwealth countries joined together, unified by their love for the sport. Since then, the club has achieved a great deal of accomplishments and has managed to pique the interest of many.
“Prague Cricket Club has won 80% of all national cricket tournaments since 2007, has represented Czechia in the 2022 European Cricket League, and has produced many talented players for the Czech national team,” says Shreetama.
But what exactly is cricket and how is it played? With origins in 16th century England, cricket was initially a game of aristocracy. It has since gained a global following but is especially popular in in commonwealth countries.
The game is a match between two teams of 11 players, played on a large oval field, while the necessary equipment consists of a ball, bats, and wickets. “Cricket is split up into two innings: In the first inning, one team bats and the other bowls; in the second inning, they swap over. The objective of the batting team is to score as many runs as possible, while the objective of the fielding team is to dismiss these batsmen (get them out) and prevent them from scoring runs. In the end, the team with the highest score wins,” explains Shreetama.
The wickets are placed behind each batsman. If a team knocks the wickets down, they score points and send the other team’s player out. Each game lasts for hours when it comes to one-day tournaments, while First-class tournaments, also known as test cricket, go up to several days, according to Shreetama. For a visual explanation, you can watch this video.
Of course, those who love the sport have no trouble focusing for hours on end. And the number of cricket fans only keeps on growing, especially in the Czech Republic. Prague Cricket Club plays a significant role in popularizing the sport.
“The club has helped the popularity of cricket in this part of the world grow more than 20 times since 1997. We are trying to build a community here and Prague is the perfect place for that because it stands as an important gateway to Europe and it connects the West and the East to culture and history. We want to see more and more cricket teams from all over the world come to Prague,” says Shreetama.
Prague Cricket Club is currently organizing a T10 Challenger Cup tournament that will be held on the 23rd, 24th, and 25th of June at Vinoř Cricket Ground. The tournament is organized in cooperation with the Czech Cricket Union and is the 4th annual edition overall.
The first tournament was held in 2019. The event will host 12 teams from different countries, including Singapore, UAE, Germany, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain, Pakistan, and Lithuania.
The entrance to the tournament is free of charge. Visitors can also buy beer and food from several stands on the ground. All games will be streamed live across the world, and the champion will win amazing prizes. The tournament will also hold an hour when children can come and try playing. More information on the tournament can be found here
“We would like to have this event be an official European cricket festival in the future,” explains Shreetama. “We have a strong partnership with Prague City Council and quite a lot of strong sponsorships.” Indeed, Prague Cricket Club is backed by regular sponsors such as Bombay Express, CricHeroes, Can Bey Restaurant, ZeroesandOnes, Astra Finance, and Czech INN Hostels Prague, while the premium sponsors for this year’s T10 Challenger Cup are Budweiser Budvar and Sangam Restaurant.
However, the members of the club themselves work as volunteers in their free time, driven by their love for the sport, instead of money. Other than that, the club gets its financing from enrollments, with lower fees for students.
“We are getting more and more enrollments. You can join the club and learn from the seasoned players,” explains Shreetama. Currently, PCC is working hard on establishing a women’s team. In 2023, they also established Prague Cricket Academy for kids. After all, everybody is welcome to play cricket, according to Shreetama.
“Even if you don’t know anything about the sport, you can come and try it out if you are interested! You don’t have to know cricket to join our club, we will coach you” she concludes. In the words of the PCC president, Sudhir Gladson, “Let’s grow cricket together.“
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