This year’s Wisden Almanack includes a piece that I wrote for its ‘Cricket Round The World’ section, about Uzbekistan’s first ever cricket tournament.
It’s been a highlight of my year to write about two things that fascinate me – cricket and the post-Soviet republics – in a book alongside my favourite writers; Wisden 2014 has essays by Gideon Haigh, Ed Smith and its editor Lawrence Booth.
The latest Cricket Round The World comes from Colombia, Hungary, Iran, Nauru and Japan, as well as Uzbekistan and other places. To find out about the games in Tashkent, just send me an email.
There is a now a book of memorable past CRTW stories – Elk Stopped Play.
Also: From Russia With Stumps – my tale of creating London’s Eastern European cricket team.
You can support a children’s charity in Central Asia that I am involved with, HealthProm, by sponsoring me in a 10km run.
Read my travel guide to the city of Kazan – the capital of the republic of Tatarstan in central Russia – in The Calvert Journal.
“Created by Tatars, evolved by khans, tsars and Russians, and invigorated by cosmopolitan leaders over the last ten years to attract visitors from near and far; it would be passé to describe the centre of Tatarstan as a “melting pot”, were that not the meaning of Qazan, the word the Tatars chose for their town. Distant and accessible, Russian and Muslim, with spotless avenues and open spaces to complement its cultural credentials, Kazan is a treat to explore…”
Please follow the link to read my story “My Golden Ones” – about a bus journey between the towns of Kemer, Antalya, Denizli and Pamukkale in southern Turkey – on the Caravanistan Silk Road travel blog.
> My photographs from Turkey can be found in my photo sets.
Captaining a team to second-last place in an indoor cricket tournament is an unlikely thing to take pride in, even when your sporting CV is as modest as mine. But then, the colleagues that answered my call to play in our company’s 8-a-side cup this autumn were the unlikeliest of cricketers.
I had a month to teach three Russians, a Ukrainian, a Bulgarian, a Slovenian and a Vietnamese – four lads and three ladies, none of whom had ever played before – how to bat, bowl and field. Finding time to practice together was difficult (I am surely the first captain to cancel a net because my best bowler was in Magnitogorsk), but three lunchtimes a week I took a Kwik Cricket set to London’s Regent’s Park, and made everyone try each of the skills. My teammates’ enthusiasm never wilted: anglophiles all, they threw themselves into the challenge of a complicated English game.
The plain text version of my article “Going For Gold: The London 2012 Olympic Games” is copied below – but please follow the link to read the full version in the July 2012 issue of Ukraine International Airlines’ Panorama magazine, with photographs, additional information and useful links.