Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Time to rebuild for South Africa cricket

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First Jacques Kallis retired. Then Graeme Smith called it quits. In between, South Africa lost a test series against Australia, their first at home since the 2008-09 season.

What stares the Proteas in the face now, however, is a far bigger challenge than just replacing two great cricketers.

The real test lies in rebuilding the team once again, with a new leadership and vision.

South African cricket is now known for what Smith achieved, and not for those World Cups where they ‘choked’. They deserve to be the No. 1 test side in the world but retaining that position now will be a different task all together.

Test cricket bids adieu to conqueror Kallis

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Time has come for the world of test cricket to move on without its biggest conqueror – Jacques Kallis. He is arguably the greatest cricketer to have played the game  and his retirement ends a career that has been both revered and envied.

The 38-year-old has set a benchmark for excellence in cricket. His test record boasts of 13,289 runs from 166 matches at 55.37, which includes 45 hundreds, to go along with 292 wickets and 200 catches. Any test cricketer would easily settle for any one of the above statistical landmarks in their entire career, let alone all of them together.

Domination in ODIs a thing of the past

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Recent results in one-day cricket have not only made a mockery of the rankings but it has also injected some much-needed excitement in the format.

First, it was current No. 1 India, who lost to Pakistan (No. 6) at home, followed by third-ranked Australia, who fought hard to just level a series with visitors Sri Lanka. Then it was the turn of hosts South Africa to lose a three-match series to lower-ranked New Zealand.

Wanderers test will not match Newlands. But for better or worse?

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Last week’s crazy Cape Town test match between South Africa and Australia, where 23 wickets fell in a day and the visitors narrowly avoided the lowest ever test score, will go down in cricket’s esteemed annals.

They meet again at the Wanderers from Thursday. But would test cricket fans want to see a repeat?

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!

Venter leaves a cult hero for exposing interview hypocrisy

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SPORT RUGBYBrendan Venter, Saracen’s idiosyncratic coach, has returned home to South Africa leaving opinion sharply divided in Britain after a surreal televison interview which has won him a cult following on YouTube.

In response to nine questions in 57 seconds, Venter parodied a parody after Saracens had lost a Heineken Cup match to Racing Metro.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer City a white elephant? 90,000 say otherwise

SOCCER-WORLD/Since July’s World Cup final, which attracted an official attendance of 84 490, the crowds at Johannesburg’s Soccer City have been getting bigger and bigger.

On Saturday the attendance record was beaten again when South Africa hosted its League Cup final at the venue.

from Photographers' Blog:

No turning back as Africa’s hour arrives

A local child carries a ball while playing soccer at a dirt field in Soweto, Johannesburg June 7, 2010. The 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup kicks off on June 11.          REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The 2010 World Cup has been a memorable and momentous occasion not only for me, but for South Africa, the African continent and the rest of the world.

It has indeed been incredible. It has been a unifying factor, with people beginning to appreciate the importance of their national symbols such as flags.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup final live — Spain 1 Dutch 0 – how it happened

We've followed every World Cup match live here and it's now time for the final --- the Netherlands v Spain. Join us here for commentary, discussion of the game and the best photos in the world.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Losing team’s national stock markets at risk

SOCCER-WORLD/By Ross Kerber

Two national market indexes that may not shine on Monday are those of Spain and the Netherlands, whose soccer teams are scheduled to meet in the World Cup's championship game on Sunday.

Whichever country's team loses can expect a drag on its market index of 49 basis points, said Wharton business school professor Alex Edmans. That is the amount that national stock indexes tend to be held back on average on the day after their country is eliminated from the World Cup, according to a paper he published in 2007 with two co-authors, Diego Garcia of the University of North Carolina and Oyvind Norli of the Norwegian School of Management.

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