Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

How long can England dominate test cricket?


England have destroyed India to go 3-0 up in their test series and officially become the world’s best test nation having also humbled Australia Down Under just a few months ago.

It’s a new position for England to find themselves in after batting collapse after batting collapse undermined their sides in the 1980/90s and sporadically in recent years.

The great Australian teams of the last two decades managed to keep at the very top for years and their dominance only fell apart because of a lack of talent waiting in the wings once their big guns retired.

England have the advantage that only captain Andrew Strauss (34)  is anywhere near retirement and given he has given up on one-dayers, he can carry on his excellent captaincy for some time yet. Spinner Graeme Swann is 32 but his second wind as an international cricketer came late so he is unlikely to bow out soon.

from India Insight:

Cricket – India vs Australia

Highlights from India's test cricket and one-day international matches against Australia

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All-time world cricket XI proves difficult to choose


Garfield Sobers stirred a minor controversy when he stated a preference for India’s Subhash Gupte ahead of Shane Warne in a mythical all-time World XI.

In an introduction to “In a League of their Own”, a recently released book in which 100 great cricketers select their ideal XI, Sobers said he found it too difficult to select his greatest team.

Does sporting immortality still beckon for Pietersen?


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.

Cricket’s Muralitharan scaled new heights


Prodigious spin propelled by an abnormally strong wrist and an iron resolve forged in bitter acrimony over his unique action took Muttiah Muralitharan to unprecedented heights in world cricket.

Muralitharan, 38, took his 800th test wicket with his final ball in 133 tests on Thursday. With Twenty20 cricket cutting increasingly into the test programme it is a mark that is unlikely ever to be exceeded.

Even cricket’s referral system is not perfect


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?


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.

Twenty20 – Perfect for the future or a cricket cannibal?

In an ideal world Twenty20, cricket’s newest and shortest format, should be hailed as the perfect way forward for a game still played by barely 10 teams at the highest level.

The World Twenty20 which begins in England on Friday is expected to draw huge crowds and television audiences, pointing to the galloping popularity of the three-hour game, the sporting equivalent of a Hollywood action flick rather than the Bollywood drama of a five-day test.

Fleet Street tucks into Onions with relish



We speculated here last week how Fleet Street’s finest headline writers would be sharpening their pencils in glee at the prospect of the splendidly named Graham Onions playing for the England cricket team.

True to form, Britain’s newspapers have gorged themselves in a veritable feeding frenzy after the Durham seamer marked his debut with five wickets in his debut test match at Lord’s on Thursday.