Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

IPL can succeed in South Africa


It’s a busy time in the cricket world. Pakistan has been told it can’t host matches in the 2011 World Cup while the second edition of the Indian Premier League, this time being played in South Africa, starts on Saturday.

IPL fans are preparing themselves for what should be 59 scintillating Twenty20 matches, played at a frantic pace by the very best players in the world.

The Chennai Super Kings first meet the Mumbai Indians at Newlands in Cape Town, the start of what is expected to be a flamboyant, fun-filled tournament, draped in Bollywood glamour.

The tournament, as the name suggests, should have been hosted in India.

The venue for the competition was switched to South Africa because of concerns over security given the league clashes with the Indian election.

Who should captain the Lions in South Africa?



The Six Nations provided a stirring finale and a lifetime of memories for Ireland fans but few watching from South Africa will have been left quaking in their boots ahead of this year’s British and Irish Lions tour.

That is exactly how wily Lions coach Ian McGeechan will want it as he plots a repeat of 1997 when his unfancied group triumphed there in the first Lions tour of the professional era.

Flat pitches a further concern for cricket


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.

Political correctness gone too far in Springbok v Maori saga


South Africa has always been a country of great contrasts and irony but there is something bizarre about the current furore over a proposed visit by the New Zealand Maoris.

Reports say South Africa are considering turning down a request for the Maori to play the Springboks on the grounds that the Boks do not play teams selected on racial grounds.

This glorious, unpredictable northern festival


Wales' Leigh Halfpenny celebrates his try against England with Andy Powell during their Six Nations rugby union match in CardiffYou wouldn’t have got great odds on Wales and France coming out on top against England and Scotland respectively on the first day of the second weekend of the Six Nations.

But England beating Wales in the try count at the Millennium Stadium and Scotland taking the game to the French the way they did in St Denis were not forecasts I’d read anywhere.