School Boy/Girl Captain
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Gurin, Russia
Let me guess, you searched for "cricket" on seznam.cz and "cricket.cz" (the PCC website) was what came out first, am I right?
I know them very well because my first club was also one out of that lot (Vinohrady, to be specific). Given that I once was in your situation, trying to learn the game in that very same league, I think I can give you some advice, even if you've chosen to play for the Evil Empire.
So, your questions:
1- Of course both of them, BUT, I'm sure, you have certainly noticed to be playing in a league where lot of players don't even get on their knees to stop the ball (they'd get dirty otherwise), don't run, don't jump and don't dive (not that difficult when your average player is a 35 years old englishman/australian with a beer belly). So I would recommend you to get fit, but without overdoing it: one day every week and you'll still be one of that league's best.
Speaking about skills, we're talking about a league where an innings of 15 is considered good, a score of 80 defendable, and if you bowl at 65 mph and less than 2 wides per over you're considered an accurate fast bowler. So do absolutely work on fitness, but give the priority to skills; in 1 or 2 years you'll catch up with most of the players in ČR.
2- I don't know much about working with weights, so I'll skip this one. Just be sure that the mechanics of your batting and your bowling are right, it might be a problem of your technique
3- Given that 90% of the cricket you'll play will be at Vypich* (they're talking about Vinoř since god knows when, so I'm a bit skeptical about it), i can give you some impressions of mine:
(*Brief description of the ground for anybody else who'd like to give some more advices: the pitch is made of bare Flicx, the grass is absurdely long and slow, but the boundaries are short; the ball have a very uneven bounce and swings early in the innings, however, doesn't seam nor turn.)
Batting: Usually, a Czech teams gives an obscene amount of extras every innings; so by just staying in, you'd be doing quite something. Try just to learn to defend and to rotate the strike (leg glances and off-side deviations), don't play at balls that you're sure will not hit the stumps, and present a straight bat in every other possible situation (apart from slogging to the full tosses, very useful when the midwicket boundary is only a few metres away); give particular attention to three details:
-Learn to move "back and across" before the delivery
-Learn to bend your knee on front-foot shots
-Work on your backlift/backswing!
Everybody kept telling me "Watch the ball, watch the ball", but nobody told me what else to do, so it took me 3 years to find how to fix holes in my game, I hope it will not be as bad for you.
Talking about bowling, just remember to jump with your left leg and to push down with your left elbow (or arm) during the delivery; then, if you can keep bowling around a lenght (to bowl there at Vypich means "Sabina Park 1998: the Revenge") and bowl no more than 1 wide/no-ball per over, you'll be doing great. If the net at Olšanské is still open 24/7 all year long (take that, players of the Australian Cricket Academy!), you just need to go down there whenever you can/want (I was bowling 1 hour everyday afterwork), and BOWL, BOWL, BOWL until you're confident about yourself.
And that's it, pretty much. I enjoyed a lot to play over there, even if sometimes all the politics involved in certain discussions became very annoying. May I ask you how was your cricketing year?