BBC BLOGS - Oliver Brett

Archives for March 2011

Right time to go for brilliant Ponting

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Oliver Brett | 12:10 UK time, Tuesday, 29 March 2011

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Unaccustomed to dealing with a crisis, Australia's selectors were not prepared to make the obvious call themselves, at least not for a while longer.

The nation's cricket fans had stomached a third Ashes defeat in the last four Test series against England, followed, barely two months later, by a quarter-final World Cup exit.

The man at the helm for all of those painful losses was Ricky Ponting. He had to go, but while the selectors pondered a while longer, he pre-empted their deliberations with a not unexpected resignation.

For a man whose stubbornness was such a powerful aspect of everything he did - both his greatest virtue and also one of his least palatable qualities - it must have been hard.

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India to edge wide open World Cup

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Oliver Brett | 14:47 UK time, Monday, 21 March 2011

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It began more than a month ago but it gets serious now. Eight teams are left, and the first quarter-final is on Wednesday. Lose now and you're on the first plane home.

The Cricket World Cup produced one notable scalp by an associate nation - when Kevin O'Brien hauled Ireland past a huge England score with an innings to light up any tournament - but excitement and unpredictability has not generally been high on the agenda.

The one surprise from Group A is that Pakistan find themselves above Sri Lanka and Australia at the top of the table, while in the other half Bangladesh's heavy defeat by West Indies proved crucial in ensuring the Tigers, one of three host nations, would not progress to the knockout stages.

England have consistently been the tournament's jokers in the pack, never winning or losing by more than a whisker, playing brilliantly against the good sides and woefully against the weak ones.

With just seven matches to go, who's going to win the thing? Let's take a look at the eight contenders.

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