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Batting on the Bosphorous

By Angus Bell

As read on BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week!

Scotsman Angus Bell is innocently working for the Montreal mafia when a psychic tells him an infant ghost is feeding him ideas. He’s told he’ll be leaving North America to embark on a travelling media project.

When the words “cricket and Ukraine” pop into his head, he uncovers a cricketing world across Central and Eastern Europe. From tournaments on ice in Estonia to university leagues in the crumbling Crimea, Slavs and Finno-Ugrics are playing the Englishman’s game. Angus sets off in his Škoda to smack them all for six.

With fingerless ‘Tamil Tigers’ in Prague, a bomb plotter in the Austrian Alps, mafiosos and an MI6 secret agent making the teamsheets, Angus soon discovers a shadowy side of Eastern European cricket.

He becomes the first man to hit a ball between continents, and ends up captain of an international team. Between games, he is pursued by the KGB, becomes embroiled in a drug bust on the Midnight Express, and seeks emergency treatment from a Romanian dentist. His passengers include a Guatemalan anarchist, a Ukrainian chicken and an Irish tobacco farmer.

Batting on the Bosphorus is a hilarious and unique traveller’s tale, taking the reader 8,000 miles through Balkan minefields, border bribes and Sarajevo graveyards at 2 a.m. It redefines the spirit of cricket, and will make the game’s most sworn enemy a fan.

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