Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

England to play Panesar? Another batter more like

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The fallout from England’s crushing first-test defeat by Pakistan has led many pundits to call for Monty Panesar to play as a second spinner in next week’s second test, despite the fact it was the batsmen and not the bowlers who failed to turn up for the world’s top-ranked test side.

Number 11 Panesar may have performed heroics with the bat in Cardiff to save the first Ashes test in 2009 but the Pakistan bowlers will hardly be quaking in their boots. Including Panesar would seemingly mean dropping seamer Chris Tremlett, who did not get a wicket in Dubai but still bowled decently. England getting Pakistan down to 289-8 having only scored 192 first up themselves was a good effort from the England attack.

There has been talk of Ravi Bopara coming in instead to bolster the batting and bowling but the all-rounder has always struggled to impose himself on tests when the pressure is on. Being one down in a three-test series in unfamiliar surroundings really is pressure. Yes the injured Tim Bresnan brought runs down the order but so do Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann. Dropping Tremlett for Bopara would be a risky move.

While rising to number one in the world, England have recovered from sudden setbacks well, such as the defeat in Perth on their way to winning the Ashes in Australia at the turn of 2010/11.

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!

Does sporting immortality still beckon for Pietersen?

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CRICKET/A casual remark from Pakistan fast bowler Wahab Riaz last week illustrated how swiftly life moves on in elite sport.

Riaz was asked which of the five England wickets he had captured in his test debut at the Oval had given him the most satisfaction.

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…

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.

Pakistan beat Sri Lanka to win World Twenty20 — your views

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Pakistan bowled aggressively and batted with supreme calm to seal a convincing eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the final of the World Twenty20 on Sunday.

Shahid Afridi’s finely judged 54 saw them home with eight balls to spare after three wickets from Abdul Razzaq had limited Sri Lanka to 138 from their 20 overs.

Sri Lanka to face Pakistan in Twenty20 final

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Chris Gayle’s magnificent best was not enough to prevent Sri Lanka beating West Indies on Friday night and making it through to the World Twenty20 final, where they will face Pakistan.

Tillakartne Dilshan gave Sri Lanka a total and West Indies were undone by an astonishing first over that saw them lose three wickets…. There’s no coming back from that against a team that bowls as well as Sri Lanka. What an extraordinary tournament this has been, to provide something unexpected almost every game…

India fears Davis Cup decision may spark other no shows

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Indian officials will be keeping their fingers crossed that Australia’s decision to boycott next month’s zonal Davis Cup tie in Chennai over security fears will turn out to be an isolated case and not one which will set a precedent for other sporting events.

India has ambitions of becoming a global sporting destination and over the next two years, the Commonwealth Games, cricket World Cup, a Formula One race, hockey World Cup and badminton world championships are all scheduled to take place in the country. However, the ambush of the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore last month triggered fears that sport could become a target for more attacks in South Asia.

Passionate crowds key to sport

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This week’s attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team means Pakistan will be a no-go area for sports teams for years to come but the country will still be able to “host” matches elsewhere, with a “home” series already lined up against Australia in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

It’s a good solution for the Pakistan Cricket Board, who will keep the team playing and generate much needed cash from the sale of the TV broadcasting rights, but I hope this is not the start of a trend.

Flat pitches a further concern for cricket

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To those uninitiated with cricket, to hear complaints about a playing surface being ‘flat’ would only further confuse them. As if the game, also hit by tragedy this week, wasn’t complex enough.

Now, a recent trend of high scores has led to criticism from some of the game’s former players, who are equally baffled by pitches that serve up nothing more than run feasts.

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