Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Couldn’t Strauss try batting his way back to form?


CRICKET-ENGLAND/England’s decision to allow “jaded” captain Andrew Strauss to miss next month’s tour to Bangladesh will leave many fans scratching their heads.

At a time when England are looking to lick the team into shape for their Ashes defence against Australia at the end of the year, it seems odd for the skipper not to be leading his troops from the front. Instead, it will be a “very excited” Alastair Cook who takes charge.

Strauss certainly does need to do something about his form. His team were fortunate to tie the four-match series 1-1 in South Africa after scraping two draws in Centurion and Cape Town by the skin of their teeth, and the captain himself was way below his best with the bat, scoring just 170 runs at an average of 24.28.

But rather than an extended rest, he could consider that the best way for a test batsman to regain his form is to play in a test. And given that Bangladesh’s bowlers are hardly the most fearsome in world cricket, shouldn’t an out-of-touch opener be relishing the opportunity?

Caribbean cricket chaos could get nasty


scoreboardThe news that the West Indies squad for Thursday’s first test against Bangladesh have withdrawn their services, effectively announcing a boycott of the series, has thrown cricket in the once-proud Caribbean into further chaos and things could turn very nasty in the coming days.

The dispute regards contractual issues, payments that the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) insist are long overdue, and other matters of compensation. The WIPA say that their players have appeared in the last four series without any form of contract. The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) position, to summarise very briefly, is that the WIPA’s demands have been unreasonable. If you are interested in the details (and there are lots of them) then both sides have put their cases online:

A long winter looms for Pakistan cricket


cricketA billion fans in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka — all test nations — have used the game of cricket as a balm for their myriad problems.

That myth was exploded on Tuesday after gunmen wounded six Sri Lankan players after firing heavy weapons as their team bus wound its way towards the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore to start the third day’s play in the second test.