Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

England v Australia, Twenty20 final — live

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We’re blogging from the final of the World Twenty-20 cricket in the West Indies, with the clash between England and Australia building towards a climax.

England are doing surprisingly well, but who would write off Australia after their semi-final comeback against Pakistan? Stay tuned … and remember, comments are extremely welcome…

Don’t blame the maths for T20 farces

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CRICKET-TWENTY/Paul Collingwood’s call for change to the Duckworth-Lewis system used to determine a target in rain-hit games was understandable, coming as it did after his England team lost  a match despite scoring three times as many runs as their opponent.

It is not the calculation system that needs revisiting, however, but the broader set-up of Twenty20 tournaments.

Will cricketers follow baseball sluggers down drugs path?

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CARDINALS/Reports that Major League Baseball will introduce testing for synthetic Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in its minor leagues next season year prompt disturbing memories of the explosion in power hitting in the 1990s headed by Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds.

This year McGwire admitted he had taken steroids when he broke Roger Maris’s long-standing home run record in 1998.

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

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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.

Vaughan reopens ball-tampering controversy

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Michael Vaughan in retirement does not shrink from the limelight. Or from controversy.

The former England captain commentates on BBC radio, writes a newspaper column and appears in a hair transplant advertisment. He also indulges in “artballing”, hitting paint-daubed balls at a blank canvas attached to a wall.

Even cricket’s referral system is not perfect

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Soccer has come under a barrage of criticism for not introducing technology to help referees while U.S. sports, rugby, tennis and cricket lead the way with innovative means of making sure the big decisions are right.

Cricket’s new referral system, where both the batting and fielding sides can have two unsuccessful challenges to an umpire’s decision per innings, has largely been welcomed by most in the game.

Will India as No.1 team prove the tonic for test cricket?

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India’s crushing 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka to become the number one ranked test team for the first time has triggered huge celebrations across the cricket-crazy nation.

The hosts, ranked number three, leapfrogged leaders South Africa and the second-ranked Sri Lanka to become the first team other than Australia or the Proteas to head the list.

from Photographers' Blog:

Straight off the bat

It certainly is the best seat in the house, but sitting close to the boundary of a cricket field does not necessarily ensure you would have a good time watching the match. Cricket is like a religion in India. An unusual game, that goes on all day even through lunch and tea. Naturally then, covering this game in India is like covering it nowhere else in the world.

At least four hours before a match, photographers start out for the stadium, winding through noisy, mile-long lines. The lines of spectators are so long that one wonders if the last man actually gets to see the full match.

Ricky Rubio and the Sportswrap speed special

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Ricky Rubio is the one that got away from the NBA. The number five draft pick opted to spend another year or two in Spain rather than join the Minnesota Timberwolves and FC Barcelona are understandably elated to have got him.

Click the video above to see Rubio celebrate his 19th birthday by helping Barcelona demolish Fenerbahce in the Euroleague. We also take a look at Jenson Button’s homecoming after his Formula 1 world title victory, and why batsmen the world over should be glad a certain Usain Bolt opted for track and field over cricket.

Usain Bolt: ultimate pace bowler

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Usain Bolt has long said that his first sporting love was cricket and earlier this year he caused a stir at Sabina Park in Jamaica when he turned up for the first test match against England. But, until Sunday, no-one knew if the fastest man in the world was any good with a bat or ball in his hand.

Bolt was invited to play in a charity tournament organised by West Indies opening batsman and fellow Jamaican Chris Gayle and according to some of the players I talked to had been talking a good game before putting his pads on.

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