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The Reuters global sports blog

from India Insight:

An Indian cricket coach for team India?

India's players celebrate with their trophy after India won the ICC Cricket World Cup final match against Sri Lanka in Mumbai April 2, 2011. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

The Indian cricket team has not had a full-time local coach in over a decade since John Wright took over possibly the second most challenging job in world cricket in 2000. Barring the Greg Chappell debacle, the two other foreign coaches the team has employed have delivered.

India made the finals of the 2003 World Cup under Wright, and Gary Kirsten signed off after the team were crowned world champions in 2011. Interestingly, both Kirsten and Wright had inherited a team full of superstars low on confidence.

Wright took over the reins in the aftermath of the match- fixing crisis of 1999, and Kirsten after the 2007 World Cup disaster (though a victory in the inaugural T20 World Cup under an interim coach, Indian Lalchand Rajput, somewhat satiated fans).

Chappell, though, had a team that could potentially be world beaters -- eerily like the batch of 2011 -- but his tenure was hardly the golden age of Indian cricket.

from India Insight:

Doesn’t anyone love the underdog anymore?

It is said that everyone loves the underdog. You can't fault Ireland if they disagree.

Days after cricket's showpiece event ended, the game's governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC) announced its decision to trim the next two World Cups to just 10 teams and throw out the associate nations from the 2015 edition, featuring only its 10 full members. The 10 spots for the 2019 edition will be determined through qualification.

Ponting’s success blighted by Ashes defeats

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CRICKET-AUSTRALIA/PONTINGRespected but seldom loved at home, admired but also reviled abroad, Ricky Ponting led Australia to great success but his captaincy will ultimately be defined by three lost Ashes series.

The tough, single-minded Tasmanian
always put the team first and that, he said, had prompted him to stand down after nine years in charge of the Australia one-day team and seven as test skipper on Tuesday.

The most test (48) and one-day international (164) wins by any captain as well as successive World Cup triumphs in 2003 and 2007 is an impressive record by any standards, and there has never been any doubt about his quality as a batsman.

Cricket World Cup — live

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Join us for coverage of the revamped Cricket World Cup on the subcontinent. Follow all the drama here with regular posts and some of the best photographs around. Comments welcome!

from Photographers' Blog:

Before a ball is bowled

Reuters Photographer Parivartan Sharma takes us to the town of Meerut, north of Delhi, where cricket balls are still being made the old-fashioned way - by hand. India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will co-host the 2011 Cricket World Cup starting on February 19.

The Making Of A Cricket Ball - Cricket World Cup Preview from Vivek Prakash on Vimeo.

Watson the man to lead Australia rebuilding

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CRICKET-ASHES/The cornerstone of Australia’s past and many successes was often their stubbornness and competitiveness but with the nation at an all time low the new way forward is honesty and the equation is a basic one.

Elementary, Shane Watson.

The man can bat, bowl and field, as he showed during the 3-1 Ashes defeat to England and the two Twenty20 internationals, but what was most notable about the all-rounder was his honesty in front of cameras.

Momentum the key to World Cup success for England’s cricketers

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AUSTRALIA-Look away now Australian cricket fans, this one’s going to hurt like a cricket bat to the groin. Their team has carried their abject 2010 form into 2011 by slumping to another defeat to a rampant England side but this time in Twenty20 rather than tests.

While England notched up their eighth straight victory in the shortest version of cricket – a new world record –  the last ball defeat in Adelaide means Australia have now lost 17 of their last 24 completed matches in all forms of the game.

English cricket celebrates a coming of age

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CRICKET-ASHES/England’s cricketers wrapped up a 3-1 series victory against Australia in Sydney on Friday and held aloft the little Ashes urn for the first time in 24 years on Australian soil.

They should enjoy the moment. It has been hard earned and a long time in coming. The taste of success will be sweet and should be savoured after so much hurt and torment at the hands of the great Australian sides of the last 20 years.

Collingwood exit gives England test dilemma

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CRICKET-ASHES/The retirement of Paul Collingwood from England’s test team was beautifully timed, leaving the selectors with the dilemma of who to replace the versatile batsman but with a long time to contemplate the decision and from a pretty lofty perch.

The 34-year-old brought options with the ball and was arguably the team’s best fielder, so although he has struggled with the bat of late whoever steps into the team has some big boots to fill.

England close to retaining Ashes but eyes should be on bigger prize

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CRICKET-ASHES/England moved closer to bringing the Ashes back from Australia for the first time in 24 years on Tuesday as they reduced the battered hosts to 169-6 at stumps on day three of the fourth test, needing just four more wickets to wrap up victory and still with a lead of 246.

In all likelihood England will require just three more wickets with Ryan Harris off the field with a stress fracture to his foot and unlikely to be forced to bat in such dire circumstances for the home side.

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