FROM RUSSIA WITH STUMPS

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. … More FROM RUSSIA WITH STUMPS

Elektrichka Shock: Escape From Moscow

In 2005, for my third year at university, I moved to Russia to study Russian in two towns a few hours north of Moscow. In Yaroslavl I had lived with fractious landladies, glued bushy sideburns to my face to act in a play, spent Friday nights with classmates in a nightclub called Joy Party, and made friends with Georgian and Azeri traders at the town’s clothes market. In Tver I had lived in the university hostel with a dozen warm-hearted Finns. … More Elektrichka Shock: Escape From Moscow