BBC BLOGS - Oliver Brett

Archives for February 2011

Sri Lanka emerge as serious contenders

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Oliver Brett | 08:16 UK time, Saturday, 19 February 2011

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Winners in 1996, finalists last time, co-hosts this time and second-favourites behind India. But just how good are Sri Lanka?

Paul Farbrace, who spent two years as the island nation's assistant coach from 2007, is confident Kumar Sangakkara's men can go all the way. Their campaign begins on Sunday with a sell-out match against Canada in Hambantota.

"They are well planned, well organised, and have a very good and well-balanced squad," Farbrace, who left his Sri Lanka post to coach Kent, tells BBC Sport.

"The conditions will suit them enormously. They have been working towards this for the best part of three years, and a lot of effort has been put into selection."

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Six to follow at the World Cup

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Oliver Brett | 11:53 UK time, Tuesday, 15 February 2011

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The World Cup features the obvious stars of international cricket: performers of rare magnitude like Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Muttiah Muralitharan and Shahid Afridi.

But beyond these stellar names lies an intriguing layer of talented players, some of whom could see their reputation greatly enhanced in the upcoming tournament.

Here's a guide to six players you may not have heard of who are worth following at this World Cup:

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England problems mount as World Cup nears

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Oliver Brett | 13:18 UK time, Monday, 7 February 2011

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In the past few weeks, Andrew Strauss has spoken of England maintaining "positive" thoughts, of being "confident" and that his team "can do a lot in the World Cup".

If that is the case, then out on the field of play we must have been watching cricket from a parallel universe. The back end of the tour of Australia crumpled into a chaotic tailspin of injuries and defeats. Was it really only a month ago that Kevin Pietersen was out partying with Tinie Tempah in Sydney after England's Test team had quite brilliantly defended the Ashes?

Hot on the heels of the Sydney celebrations, cricket had to continue. The two Twenty20 internationals were shared, but then it all went Pete Tong to the power of 10.

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