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.
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