December 2009
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Oli Broom: Cricket in Belgrade

December 1st, 2009 by TWC in Miscellaneous, The Ashes


Oli Broom is cycling to the 2010-11 Ashes, and he’s made it to Serbia. Please go to the bottom of the page and donate to one of his chosen charities.

One of my aims when I set out to cycle to the next Ashes series in Australia was to experience the game in as many countries as I could, and perhaps introduce newcomers to the greatest sport around.

Vladimir Ninkovic, who with his friend Haris Dajc founded the Belgrade Cricket Association in 2007, this week hopes to formalise the Serbian Cricket Federation. Vladimir only began learning the game two years ago - when his rugby league legs gave up on him. He is adamant that Test cricket is the best form of the game – not for him the crash-bang-wallop of Twenty20. As an ardent fan of the longer form of the game, I found his attitude heartening, and it seems that it’s rubbing off on the many Serbian nationals he has lured onto the cricket field. Most of them consider the Test game to be the pinnacle. When I asked for their favourite players of all time I was surprised to hear names like Sobers, Richards, Laker and from one true connoisseur, WG Grace. They’re not averse to a quick hit either, and the 15-over match in the grounds of Belgrade’s ancient fortress that I played last weekend was certainly the most stunning backdrop to a cricket match that I have experienced.

I spent a few evenings with Vladimir and his cricket mates, and it became obvious that they are adamant that it will be the local cricketers who will drive the sport forward in Serbia, although they are aware of the importance of learning from the many ex-pats from Pakistan, India, England, New Zealand and Australia that have joined their thriving cricket community. They’re struggling for a ground at the moment, but they deserve to make a go of it – some of them, literally months after even hearing about cricket, watch DVD after DVD of the game. It is inspiring stuff.

While in Belgrade – a wonderful city with a painful recent past – I was joined by Laci, a Hungarian film-maker and amateur cameraman, and we gathered plenty of footage so here is a short teaser.

I hope to find such enthusiasm for the game in many other countries on my trip.

You can follow Oli Broom‘s journey to Brisbane on, or at, or on twitter at Oli is aiming to raise £50,000 each for the Lord’s Taverners and the British Neurological Research Fund (BNRT). Click to donate.

Posted in Miscellaneous, The Ashes | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Oli Broom: Cricket in Belgrade”

  1.   maya says:

    awesome! go oli!

  2.   Belgrade on Film « Cycling To The Ashes says:

    [...] wrote a short piece for Wisden Cricketer today, and you can find it here. It is about Serbian cricket, and it was timely because I received two great pieces of news from [...]

  3.   Alastair says:

    How good to hear that a country with a difficult past like Serbia is taking to this great game and refreshing to read about it too. Keep us posted with all the intersting places you are seeing the game played - thank you and good luck

  4.   Oops, We Play Cricket In Serbia :: Serbia’s Ambassador To The World says:

    [...] we play cricket in Serbia!! Oli Broom wrote a short piece for Wisden Cricketer, and it is about Serbian cricket. He met Vladimir Ninkovic, who with his friend Haris Dajc founded the Belgrade Cricket Association [...]

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