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Batting on the Bosphorus: A Skoda-powered…

Batting on the Bosphorus: A Skoda-powered Cricket Tour Through Eastern…

by Angus Bell

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He wanted to search out cricket teams in Eastern Europe - so he goes on tour and plays cricket in several countries. Interesting and lots of fun... ( )
  cbinstead | Sep 2, 2011 |
This is an amusing and often outrageous account of Angus Bell's travels across Eastern Europe in a quest to play cricket in the unlikeliest of locales. His ultimate goals: to score a century against an international side (he's counting on his last match against Poland after discovering everyone, even a village team from Lithuania have beaten Poland!) and to hit a six from Europe into Asia (which is how he ends up dodging the Turkish police on a bridge across the Bosphorous for just long enough to club a ball bowled by a terrified Pakistani businessman from the European side to the Asian side!)

Many of the anecdotes are hilarious, and some sound contrived (such as the fateful meeting with a psychic in Canada that initially sets Bell on his path). I suppose at least a passing acquaintance with cricket would be useful to get the most out of the book. ( )
  iftyzaidi | Aug 4, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Oh dear. This began on an extremely promising premise - a cricket tour of eastern europe, prompted by a visit to a psychic and the first few chapters where moderately amusing. Then the tedium set in - not with the cricket and the eastern europeans but with Angus Bell. His whole patronising attitude increasingly grated and all the humour disappeared comensurately. All in all a real disappointment. One star for the initial chapters. ( )
  dorisdayrules | Oct 7, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The subject had a lot of potential, but the book comes off as only sporadically engaging. Cricket literature is by now a fairly vast field and there are some underrated gems that are appearing these days - try 'Pundits from Pakistan' from instance.
This has to be the first book I've read about the obssessives who live in countries that are not even remotely in tune with the mainstream of the cricketing world, but who keep the flame of their passion burning brightly. However, you consistently feel that Bell flits from subject to subject, as if afraid to leave out anything, but never quite gets the grip and turn off the surface that would make this a great book.
Worth a read for the interesting subject and if you're quite cricket mad, but many will find their attention wandering after a few chapters. ( )
  steelyman | Oct 21, 2008 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was really excited to receive a copy of this book under the Early Reviewers programme. After all, it was about cricket (definitely a plus) and a humorous travel memoir (and I really enjoy Bill Bryson and Tim Moore's similar books).

The basic premise of the book is that a message from a psychic sends Bell on a drive around Eastern Europe finding small pockets of cricket players with whom he then has a knockabout. Sadly, despite its early promise this book really didn't hit the mark for me and I guess the only reason I read right to the end is that I felt that getting the book under the Early Reviewer programme committed me to writing something about it.

So what spoiled it for me? After all, the subject matter was nearly ideal. Well, I think there were three issues. First, Bell seems to expect the whole of Eastern Europe to have all the values and culture of a young, middle-class Scot rather than looking at how the locals live. For example, demanding a vegetarian diet in a country where the staple diet is fatty pork and dumpling seems rather demanding as does berating a bureau de change clerk for failing to recognise Scottish banknotes. Second, there seemed to be something of a smugness to the humour. While Bryson or Moore have the ability to laugh at themselves for their gaucheness in misunderstanding local customs, Bell doesn't realise, even retrospectively, when he's crossed the mark. Rather it's the foreigners who are a little funny and when the humour is self-deprecatory it's in such a way as to suggest it's not really true but said for the joke. Third, he makes little attempt to get together with the locals, choosing rather to hunt out the British and Australian ex-pats wherever possible. On the level of finding cricketing partners this is understandable, but it also extended to hanging out with folk and finding travelling companions too.

It seems a shame. I really wanted to like this book but ended feeling that I couldn't really recommend it. ( )
  SkyRider | Aug 27, 2008 |
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Following a chance encounter with a psychic, Angus Bell sets off on an 8,000-mile Skoda-powered road trip across Eastern Europe in search of a cricket match. It is an adventure which brings Bell face-to-face with fingerless fielders in the Czech Republic and Serbian MI6 agents.… (more)

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