The Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack 2022 includes a piece that I wrote for its Cricket Round The World section. It is about the history of cricket in the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan – from the shepherds in the 1960s who played the game on their jailoos (summer pastures), to the Tajik throwing-and-hitting game chilikdangal, played with sticks in the mountainous Wakhan Corridor, to a new six-team T20 tournament in the capital Dushanbe. Tajikistan became the 106th member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2021, and has some ambitious plans for the future, in partnership with its cricketing neighbours in Afghanistan.
Having played and followed cricket all my life, I’m very proud that my article has a place alongside writing by my favourite journalists. Following the Notes by the Editor Lawrence Booth, the 2022 Wisden features essays by writers including Mike Atherton, Gideon Haigh, Tanya Aldred, Tim de Lisle and Emma John.
As well as the piece from Tajikistan, Cricket Round The World this year includes stories about matches in the South Pacific territory of Tokelau, and some other unexpected places. This year’s story is my third contribution to the annual Wisden Almanack: in 2014 I wrote about the first ever cricket tournament to be held in Uzbekistan, and in 2021 I wrote about how the game is becoming known in two far-flung corners of Russia.
Jonathan Campion is a writer, a translator from Russian and Ukrainian, and a book editor. He has travelled in Eurasia since 2005. Read about his work here, and contact him here.