June 18, 2009

Cricket for Russian intellectuals

Brydon Coverdale

If there was an unlikelier place than Cardiff for Ashes mania to kick off this year, St Petersburg would be it. But that’s where a team of Australians has taken first blood against a side made up of English ex-pats.

The Crusaders, a Melbourne-based team consisting of players aged 16 to 60-plus, like to spread cricket to parts of the world where it normally wouldn’t be played. Outside the State Russian Museum certainly qualifies.

The match was played in the famous Mikhailovsky Garden and a small team of gardeners prepared a ‘pitch’ that could be generously described as an extremely green-top. The Australians won the day but just as entertaining was the way the St Petersburg locals struggled to comprehend what was going on.

"It's something new, something unusual for Russia," Elena Naydenko told ABC television. "It's for intellectuals I think, because of its rules. Only an intellectual can understand the rules.”

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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