BBC BLOGS - Oliver Brett

Archives for April 2011

Cecil waits on another potential fairytale

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Oliver Brett | 07:29 UK time, Thursday, 28 April 2011


When the stalls burst open at the top of Newmarket's famous Rowley Mile racecourse on Saturday, at 1510 BST, the racing world will get its answer to a fascinating conundrum.

Frankel will either show himself to be an equine specimen of rare brilliance or simply another thoroughbred who is all hype and hot air.

The bookmakers could not be clearer about their leanings. Not since Nijinsky in 1970 has there been a hotter favourite for the 2,000 Guineas, the first Classic of the British Flat racing season.

It cannot be stressed just how important the race is for the horse, his rider Tom Queally, plus trainer Henry Cecil and owner Khalid Abdulla.

Win the Guineas and win it convincingly, and the season opens up before them, replete with possibilities. He would be a very hot order for the Derby and be in line to achieve something similar to Sea The Stars - the extraordinary winner of Six Group 1 races in six months in 2009.

Lose the Guineas on the other hand, and it would be a party-cancelled, balloons-burst, champagne-gone-flat moment.

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ICC leaves Ireland out in the cold

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Oliver Brett | 17:36 UK time, Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Gary Wilson, the Surrey and Ireland wicketkeeper batsman, was speaking three days before the International Cricket Council poured a gallon of industrial-strength weedkiller on the green shoots of Irish cricket, but his words are all the more poignant now:

"We beat Pakistan and Bangladesh in our first World Cup, we took down the Ashes champions in our second, we've made the fastest World Cup hundred, the highest and third-highest World Cup run chases and we have the youngest World Cup centurion. Anyone who says they don't want to watch Ireland in the World Cup is lying."

Wilson makes a compelling case, and his final point is particularly telling.

How can the board members who voted to exclude Ireland and their fellow associates justify their decision? It is hard to believe they genuinely believe Ireland are not good enough to play in cricket's global showpiece tournament. Who for that matter, reading this blog, will say they do not want Ireland in the 2015 World Cup?

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India's turn to dominate world cricket?

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Oliver Brett | 16:01 UK time, Monday, 4 April 2011

Like British politics, world cricket has seen two formidable and dominant dynasties take shape in the last 30 years.

The West Indies, in an uncompromising fashion that may have impressed Margaret Thatcher, were peerless in the 1980s, with their fearsome fast bowlers and that most awe-inspiring batsman, Viv Richards.

When the Windies then spiralled into decline, Tony Blair entered Downing Street at a time when Australia had already taken hold of the sceptre of power that made them the pre-eminent side.

But with the third of Ricky Ponting's three Ashes defeats still fresh in the memory, and two changes of Prime Minister since Blair, a watershed moment has arrived.

I'll leave the politics out of this blog from now on, and instead concentrate on India, whose coronation as World Cup winners on Saturday could put them on course to establish themselves as the next great superpower in world cricket.

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