Joanna Konczak is a Cricket Fan, Promoter, Volunteer and also amateur cricket photographer covering many matches happening in Warsaw. Joanna works in a publishing house which specializes in Children Literature. Joanna loves to take out some time from her professional life and enjoys watching Cricket. Joanna also likes practising Cricket. In a brief Interview with Vishal Yadav, Joanna mentions about different cricket club based in Poland. She also gives an insight on some future plans that shall raise the standard of Cricket in Poland. Joanna's contribution towards Polish Cricket is commendable. She also looks after Warsaw Cricket Club's Official Website and Facebook Page. Polish Cricket has seen a tremendous growth in the recent times and Global Cricket Community would like to thank Joanna for her selfless efforts.
1. Tell us about you?
Full Name: Joanna Konczak
Role: A cricket fan, game promoter and volunteer.
2. At Present: Are you a Coach? A cricket player? A cricket related business? A club Owner? A cricket Fan? Mention your work profile (if anything else).
I work in a publishing house specializing in children’s literature so my profession has a little to do with sports. Though I am a cricket fan and as Poland is not a cricket country I try to spread the word about the game and I do it through various media. I also volunteer during various cricket related events happening here.
And by chance I’ve become kind of official team’s photographer.
3. Are you playing cricket currently?
I am not playing, though from time to time I practice recreationally with friends some cricket skills.
4. Are there any clubs in your locality? Mention their names?
My city, Polish capital Warsaw, is the biggest player base in the country at the moment. Active clubs are mentioned below:
• Warsaw Cricket Club – the oldest one. Existing since 1993. Organizer of plenty of the tournaments – like Polish T20 Cup and ODI competitions and has many trophies under its belt. And this is the club I am associated with the most, helping with the website and FB profile etc. It has plenty of members, enough to introduce two XIs.
Tarun Daluja is one of the clubs initiators since the very beginning and puts a lot of effort and passion in activating cricket community as well as is responsible for creating a squad that travels for some international tournaments.
• Warsaw Kings XI –also long existing team. Very competitive one, current Polish T20 Cup Champion.
• Warsaw Hussars Cricket Club – existing for the very second season. Very notable one, as it consists mostly of the Polish native players who have learnt the game here, in Poland. Those guys are very active game promoters.
• Warsaw United Cricket Team – the most international one with their recent squad.
• Warsaw Knight Riders – newly created team,already having great results – 4th place during the latest Polish T20 Cup.
• Politechnika Warszawa CC – also new club, an official team of Warsaw University of Technology. Impressive performers, 3rd place in Polish T20 Cup and the runners up in ODI Championships.
• There’s also a junior team of American School of Warsaw – and they play friendly games with Warsaw Hussars.
5. Where do you and your team see yourself in coming 5 years? Where do you want to focus in order to improve your cricket?
Before I answer, you need to know how the situation of cricket in Poland is. First of all – it is not a professional sport here. It is neither popular, nor known. Whatever is happening – happens because of the initiatives of passionate individuals. We don’t have support of ICC. There is no proper infrastructure, nor professional coaches, nor academies, etc. Whenever players go for a tournament or invite a coach – they pay all the expenses off their own pockets. The game is played in parks, on football grounds etc. At the moment in Warsaw we have two concrete pitches covered with a synthetic playing surface. First one was created long time ago by the British embassy. Second one - has been inaugurated very recently on the grounds of the sport's club thanks to a big help of Nick Sinha - who, by the way, along with Tarun Daluja and Madhup Sharma - is part of the Warsaw Cricket Club from the very beginning in 90's.
There are various points that should be worked on having further development on sight. First of all – registering official federation or governing body to be able to apply for some external support and making the matters “official”. And grassroots programs are very important– to “breed” a new generation of players and spread the interest in the game among Poles. Also improving umpiring, scoring, coaching etc. skills.
Though various things are happening. For example due to efforts of Steve Rank, our cricketing community’s inestimable supporter, we have the umpiring course led by Mr David Dilley, a Director of the NSW Cricket Umpires' and Scorers' Association.
In Warsaw – due to a large number of clubs a match is being played almost every weekend.
Lidia Kucharska, the scorer, has begun putting all the tournament’s stats on CricHQ website this season, so everyone can look through it.
Cricket community is growing. What is exciting, when you look at number of teams participating in Polish T20 Cup.
1 edition – 2 teams
2 edition – 4 teams
3 edition – 5 teams
4 edition – 8 teams
This year – 9 teams.
6. Do your club/association have any website or facebook page? Mention their links.
www.warsawcricketclub.pl – is WCC website. And all the clubs I mentioned, including WCC, have their FB profiles.
7. Any recent achievements/activities that you had. (It could be organizing a small camp, or just playing a match or organizing a cricket camp or playing a tournament series) Do mention the date.
We can boast with few achievements as Polish cricket community. Players from various clubs are attending tournaments as Polish national team. In September 2012 this squad won its first international tournament Euro Twenty20 Cup in Bulgaria, in which 8 teams were competing. Our players turned out to be a huge surprise of the tournament: they won matches with the hosts, Macedonian and Russian teams during the group stage, then beat Hungary in the semi-final and eventually took the trophy by defeating Romania in the final. That success is mentioned in 2013 edition of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanac. In 2013 team had travelled to Hungary to take part in TriNation Cup and reached the final. And for two years in a row, 2014 and also 2015, won Central Europe Cup held in Prague.
There’s notable event in Southern Poland: PiotrowiceNyskie Cricket Festival (https://www.facebook.com/CricketFestival?fref=ts) organized by Jim Parton. Excellent tournament integrating the cricketing community. First edition happened in 2013, last year weather played the spoil sport. We hope it would be possible to have it this year. You can find a paragraph about 1st edition of Piotrowice’s Festival in Wisden’2014. And as my personal achievement I can mention that the photograph I took was published along with the article.
As to future events: Warsaw Hussars came up with the great initiative: it’s 1st Central and Eastern Europe Cricket Native 6s Cup (https://www.facebook.com/native6scup?fref=ts), planned for 25th–26th July 2015. They invited native players from various European countries to take part in it. It is important to promote the game among the locals and spread the interest in game in the new environments.
8. Would you like to come to India for a tournament or a coaching camp? Or do you want to travel any other country (if Yes, please mention the name)?
Sending a team to India would be complicated due to the distance and formalities. But as I mentioned earlier – our players travelled abroad in Europe for tournaments and also the teams from other countries visit us.
Warsaw Hussars cooperate with T20 International coaches: went for a camp in UK last year and this winter hosted a coach during their indoor trainings. And the team takes part in annual Vienna’s Wintercup. Excellent indoor 6-a-side tournament happening when local weather doesn’t allow any conventional game.
9. What are the challenges you are facing in your country's cricket? If any, how do you feel to overcome those challenges?
I mentioned those earlier.
10. One thing that you instantly need that would boost the involvement of people in your country's cricket?
Money to create infrastructure. And presence of cricket in tv. At the moment Eurosport 2 is the only sport channel showing cricket here – but very, very rarely and only T20.
11. Name any 3 active Cricket Clubs from your locality, Country. Also mention the name and email id of these 3 clubs.
I told about local clubs in Warsaw, so no I will mention those from other cities. There are:
Lublin Cricket Club,
Kraków Cricket Club (they have just organised 1st edition of the new tournament, Krakow Cup and the hosts are the lucky winners)
Poznań Cricket Club,
Łódź Cricket Club
and there are many players based in Wrocław.
List of all the Facebook Pages that cover Polish Cricket (Cricket in Poland). Like the page and stay updated.
warsawhussarscc?fref=tshttps:/ /www.facebook.com/pages/ Warsaw-Knight-riders/ 360241234173981?fref=ts
pages/Politechnika-Warszawa- Cricket-Club/788869377873486? fref=ts
warsawkingscricketclub?fref= tshttps://www.facebook.com/ pages/Krakow-Cricket-Club/ 166234023489649?fref=ts